By John Walker on March 13th, 2014 at 10:00 am.
There are times when I wonder if I’ve had enough of point and click adventure games. They were the most important games of my youth, and represent many spots in my top ten, but perhaps I’m after something new these days? Except, then I play a good one and I realise it’s just because there’s so much dross. From a place of no expectations at all, I found that “Oh yeah,” reaction being elicited by the (horribly named) Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today – it’s a properly interesting, traditional point-n-click, and that the advanced build I played is only the first half hour has made me really rather disposed to want to carry on. Which means I should probably contribute to the just-launched Kickstarter.
I’m not going to convince you of an original setting here. It’s a post-apocalyptic world, and you have no memory. I know. But despite this, I was immediately intrigued. First of all, as hideously touristy as Postapocalyptica has become, the concept still remains one with built-in possibility. Why has it happened, what are the consequences, and how are surviving people to carry on. It may be hoary, but done well, it can offer much. (Let’s not forget it’s the framework that has brought us wonders like Threads, The Road, and Fallout.) And here your character’s lack of memory is a commonplace condition amongst survivors – you’re one of the lucky ones, in fact, being able to remember the necessity of basic functions like eating and sleeping. Others haven’t been so fortunate.
There’s been an incident. The Great Wave. You wake up in a makeshift home, lived in by a father, mother and their son, unsure who you are, what has happened, nor just how big of a mess things are in. Leaving the mobile home reveals a fraction of it – you’re living in a rubbish tip. There are shanty huts here and there, all fenced in by barbed wire borders, guarded by armed soldiers. And you need to be outside that fence, not only to begin a journey to learn who you are, but also to fetch desperately needed food and medicine for others.
While the art style is especially lovely here, what grabbed me the most was the writing. Which is no mean feat since this is being written in English by a Spanish team. It’s immediately interesting – aiming for severity rather than cheap gags, portentous, and feels like it delivers enough answers to prevent frustration without instantly giving the game away. And it’s all delivered in a pleasingly traditional way, with right-click to look, left-click to use, and a really good amount of unique writing for spurious combinations of inventory items with the world.
You can downloadifmy a demo of it right now, to get an idea of the atmosphere. And their Kickstarter is only after $45,000. $15 will secure you a copy on release, with $10 for the first couple of hundred. And you’ll not be surprised to find the game on Greenlight.