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Dave the Diver’s evil cousin is a scary cooking sim with a Steam demo

If, like me, you loved Dave the Diver and also adore spooky season, then While We Wait Here is the perfect game for you - and it has a free Steam download, too.

A goth girl with black lipstick and facial piercings leans on her right hand looking dejected as lightning strikes outside of the window behind her

The world is ending. Armageddon looms. A huge, spiraling tornado threatens to engulf everything, with meteorites falling from the sky. This is While We Wait Here. Sure, it sounds like a far cry from Dave the Diver’s playful, sushi-eating adventure, but Bad Vices Games’ new release has a lot in common with its cozier counterpart.

You’re thrust into the shoes of a small-town diner owner, whose life is turned upside down by the impending catastrophe outside your four walls. In While We Wait Here, you serve up burgers, decant bottles of soda into glasses, and serve both distraught and disinterested patrons alike – but there are horror game elements mixed in there, too.

In one video, our protagonist throws open the door of the restaurant to reveal an ominous, black tornado. The game’s demo trailer sees a man (Cliff) in a tinfoil hat warning that “staying here is dangerous. The storm; it feels endless.” There’s certainly a sense of impending doom, but that’s what gives While We Wait Here its charm.

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While some diners see the storm as a punishment for their own sins, others simply ignore it – it’s just climate change or something, right? As their server, you need to try and convince them to take shelter or accept their decision to stay in the diner when it all goes pear-shaped.

Either way, your job is to keep serving up delicious grub and deal with the numerous different situations you’ll be confronted with. Bad Vices Games promises “a meditative experience with no game over, where there is no right or wrong, and where each choice is yours alone,” and that sounds right up my alley.

A dusty mountain rage with a blood red sky and lightning sparking around it, with an abandoned jeep and flickering streetlight

As someone who staunchly believes that Doki Doki Literature Club is one of the best PC games ever made, I love a psychological horror adventure. While We Wait Here poses the question: what would you do in that situation? Would you be in denial? Or repenting because the end is nigh? That, to me, is exciting.

You can play the While We Wait Here demo on Steam right now, with the full release set for 2024. I know I’ve already added it to my wishlist.

If you’re looking to pass the time until the game fully releases, though, we have a list of the best visual novels to keep you busy, as well as a rundown of the best free Steam games so that you don’t need to splash too much cash.