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Loom and Gloom: Looming

If I made an indie game I would call it ARTHOUSE and it would be about punching your way through a haunted art gallery.

Time for your weekly dose of monochrome indie weirdness! Yes, open wide, boys and girls. It’s probably good for you. Looming is a flash game by a Mr. Gregory Weir where you explore a timeless and ominous pocket dimension, collecting bits of evidence regarding what the place is and what happened here, gradually picking you way towards one of nine endings. It passes my sole criteria for idea-centric indie games, which is to say I’d give a finger to see the idea realised on the same scale as a AAA commercial title. Some more thoughts and a video walkthrough after the jump.

I found Looming oddly reminiscent of the unreality explored in Haruki Murakami’s Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, which can only be a good thing. Something to do with the omnipotent abstract rules and the lack of colour or warmth, I suppose. Tone aside, I have a theory that it’s only the text that accompanies the items you find in Looming that makes the world so interesting, as opposed to the design of the world itself.

It’s a billion miles away from, say, picking up a new gun in Mass Effect 2 and finding yourself presented with a sheaf of text about the technology inside it. Looming’s item descriptions represent a sub-game, with each one you pick up scouring away a tiny corner of your ignorance and daring you to piece together what you know like you would a jigsaw. It’s almost like archeology. Why hasn’t there been a decent archaeology detective game yet, anyway? Hrmph.

Here are a couple of video walkthroughs for when you get stuck. Course, they go through all the endings one after another, so you’re likely to see some spoilers. You have been warned.

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Quintin Smith

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