Where Time Becomes A Loop: Moebius Demo Released

Piazza San Marco, right next to the Doge's Palace. Doge. Get it? Right? Doge. Guys?

Our John certainly enjoyed Jane Jensen’s Moebius when he got to play it last year, but how has the adventure game changed over the last eight months? And do you truly trust John anyway? You can test both Moebius and your gamepatibility with John through a demo for Jensen’s new point-and-clicker, available now for Windows and Mac.

Moebius follows Jensen’s usual interests–murder, conspiracy, and supernatural strangeness–with a tale of an antiques expert solving mysteries, dabbling in the arcane, and dodging assassins. Where else will you find a chap with a name as absurd as Malachi Rector? Malachi Rector, sales account manager! Malachi Rector, bus conductor! Malachi Rector, Slimelight DJ! Oh, maybe that last one.

It’s developed by Phoenix Online and overseen by Jensen’s studio Pinkerton Road, the first spawn of her 2012 Kickstarter. With Jensen serving as writer, designer, and creative director, she’s supposedly more involved than with the recent so-so Grey Matter and Cognition.

The full game’s due on April 15. Look, here’s the sort of stuff we can expect from it:


  1. Bugamn says:

    I think I’ll dodge that pun.

    • maxi0 says:

      Moebius for the best.

      • SuddenSight says:

        These pun threads always loop back to the same things. Strip them of their humor and it’s just a one-sided devotion to nonsense.

        • maxi0 says:

          I’m not certain whether you mean to denigrate pursuers of absurdity or if your comment was meant purely as an observation. Strip most concepts of their key attributes and they might become absurd. Perhaps the key lies in the fact that you need to remove something in order to devalue it – i.e. DUH!. Absurdity for its own sake is a task replete with nobility.

          • suibhne says:

            SuddenSight’s meaning may have been a bit too twisted for you.

          • SuddenSight says:

            My comment does not contain all of the dimensions you surmise it does, though I cannot quite describe it without reference to your post. I guess my opinions are in some kind of limbo, only conceivable in a world where valuation is thing people do, but without taking any advantage of that axis of thought.

    • Rikard Peterson says:

      I don’t get the joke in the title text for the image.

      • jrodman says:

        I see all the elements. But I also don’t get it. Maybe it’s a thing Wharf I just don’t know when to laugh.

  2. Cytrom says:

    Interesting… but still looks like the sims.

    • crinkles esq. says:

      That’s what I thought, too. The lip-synching tech they’re using is kind of awful, which really breaks immersion on a title like this where dialogue and character is very important. I realize they don’t have a AAA budget and can’t do motion capture sessions for the modelling, but at least spend time on the lips!

      • Premium User Badge

        Ninja Dodo says:

        You don’t need mocap to do good facial animation. In fact hand-keyed expressions tend to look better. Even detailed capture always sort of looks like the character just had a botox operation and is trying not to use their facial muscles too much.

        • Geebs says:

          It’s not the lips, it’s the weird Steerpike shoulders everybody has

    • Nix Nada says:

      Yeah, but the grau looks frettesche.

  3. kwyjibo says:

    This looks and sounds terrible. Is that part of the charm? Because I’m not feeling it at all.

    • norfolk says:

      Right? I feel the same way. B-movie material, without any apparent irony.

      • kwyjibo says:

        Managed to watch all the way through the trailer. Only way I would even be remotely interested if there’s a hardcore sex scene between Malachi and his body guard, homoerotic tension so strong.

  4. J. Cosmo Cohen says:

    I downloaded the demo and played it yesterday. The voice acting seemed to be lacking passion of any sort. The animations are oddly missing frames, too. I uninstalled without finishing it.

    There was one completely bizarre part of the demo where you pull a gun on a guy, he looks at it, looks at you, and then you both start laughing as if the gun was a rubber chicken. So baffling.

    • Noviere says:

      Yeah, that scene is just weird. Then there is the part just before where the guy is walking toward him and all the words(rape, murder, american, british, etc…) are flashing on the screen. I felt like I was missing something… Possibly drugs.

  5. DrollRemark says:

    Slimelight DJ!

    Oh god, the flashbacks.

  6. Beanbee says:

    What is this? Posts on a Saturday? Rest, for the love of gaming… Rest!

    • bill says:

      Oh no no no no nononono!
      Your saturday is my Sunday morning. Need posts!

      And need Sunday posts to make monday morning interesting!!

  7. Acorino says:

    I’ve been looking forward to this. Not much longer…
    Just wish the backers would also get the demo of the first two chapters like the people who pre-order on GOG do…

  8. gruia says:

    looks like shit

  9. Heliocentric says:

    “And do you truly trust John anyway?”

    I am beginning to like you.

  10. DrMcCoy says:

    What the hell? Where did the promised Linux support go (see the $400,000 stretch goal on the Moebius kickstarter campaign)?

    No Linux demo, and the Moebius website doesn’t mention Linux anymore either:
    “Release Date: April 15th, 2014 (PC, Mac)
    Coming Soon: iOS, Android”

    And that right after the kerfuffle with the GK1 remake… I’m angry.

    • Acorino says:

      Maybe better post on Kickstarter or in the Pinkerton Road forums about it. If they promised it, they’re bound to deliver. Certainly something to get upset about!

    • Deano2099 says:

      “The Linux build will follow probably 1-3 months later, once we have upgraded the Unity engine to a version that supports Linux and can test it properly. ”

      Which you’d know as they sent it out in a backer update. And if you’re not a backer, I’m not sure why you’d be angry?

      • DrMcCoy says:

        Yeah, I’m not a backer (on account of not having had any spending money at the time of the kickstarter). I still riled up people I know about that kickstarter, and planned on buying the game once released.

        Why, pray tell, should I not be angry that a game I followed for quite some time, and was psyched about, seemed to have dropped the promised Linux support? Am I not a potential customer still? Am I not a part of their fanbase?

        It’s also quite sad that exactly this information, that the Linux build will follow, has not been communicated anywhere publically, only apparently on that backer update. Why is that a backer-exclusive information? Why doesn’t the website mention that, but does mention the upcoming iOS and Android ports?

        • Widthwood says:

          Your feeling of entitlement for something you didn’t support and didn’t pay a cent for makes Linux users look bad. Even if they did drop Linux, that’s between them and the backers, it’s game for them.

          Edit: oh I see you edited your post. Shouldn’t you instead be angry at yourself for not having any money to back a project you liked? That’s the actual reason you don’t have all the information about it.

          • DrMcCoy says:

            Wait, what, I didn’t edit my post. I was asleep.

            Everything a kickstarted project does is between them and their backers? No, sorry, I disagree. That would mean we couldn’t criticize basically anything a traditionally funded game company does, since we didn’t throw money at them. Team17 claiming great new innovation, yet basically redoing Lemmings – Eh, that’s between them and their publisher.

            Likewise, a kickstarted game is not just a game for the backers. They do hope to actually sell the game to a wider audience after it has been released, no? They won’t just say “Nope, only backers get the game. Every else had had their chance.”.

            Also, being angry at myself for not having money? You know nothing about my personal situation and yet you lecture me about not having money? Fuck you with a rusty broom.

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            Not sure if I agree or disagree on your main point here. You made me think, at least.
            But, “be angry at yourself for not having any money”? Yeah that’s an inexcusable attitude. What Bones said.

          • Widthwood says:

            Maybe comments section is flaky or something, the first paragraph of your post was different when I wrote my post, about how they took 400000$ for Linux stretch goal from backers, yet didn’t deliver enough to you.

            I never claimed you can’t criticize them, just doubt how justified your anger could be. This is not publisher deal we’re talking about, publishers are not end users of a game. But backers are.

            Just imagine you and your friends decided all to chip in and build yourself a skate park or bike track or something. Then comes this dude who didn’t do anything, and he is all angry how you didn’t deliver on what you originally planned. You’ll probably tell to him “Well you can only blame yourself, you should’ve helped if you wanted anything to go your way”, right? Then he tells you to fuck yourself.

            This kind of behavior is especially strange coming from Linux user, because in a way Linux is largely crowdfunded (by work instead of money) and users are expected to fix problems and share their work, not judge whether others delivered enough for you.

          • DrMcCoy says:

            Except that this is not just me and my friends, but a company we founded, and we solicited money from people in the streets and door to door, saying, among other things, how the skate park will have skate boards for left-handed people (yes, I know, bear with me). And then there’s you, say, a 5 year old at the door, with no money to give, but you’re telling your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncleses about it, and they give.

            And then you’re standing there, two years later, in front of said park, with the money for a ticket in hand, and then I tell you “Nope, no left-handed equipment”. Of course you’re feeling disappointed, angry and betrayed.

            Now, let me tell you about Linux users. I’m one. I’m also a developer for several open source projects. One of them is ScummVM; and guess what, we take bug reports. Someone finds a crash, we actually pride ourselves in answering and fixing that as quickly as we can. And get angry at ourselves if we can’t do that (for example, there’s several bugs in the original scripts of Woodruff that I haven’t fixed, since the scripts are dense and near unreadable). We’re also pretty damn anal about portability.

            Still, that comparison is pretty broken. Because most of us open source devs don’t get to make a living out of it; “selling” our product (more people using it) doesn’t give us more of the resource (time and/or people) needed to put more work in it.

          • Widthwood says:

            Oh come on, using victimized kid’s image to prove your point is not fair :)

            Anyway, the park is not ready yet, and people making the park decided to let others test it, and here I am feeling angry that my specific feature is not ready yet, and they didn’t mention having it in their advertisements!

            There are two ways people can organize to do projects together – either they donate money to hire someone to do the work for them, or they do this work themselves. In opensource people usually do the work, in crowdfunding – pay others to do it for them. But the result is essentially the same..

            I wonder how you would take if some random person opened a bug around 2007 saying you promised full SCUMM games support, yet none of them are perfect, and what the hell, you continue adding new engines instead of delivering what you promised first. That wouldn’t be very nice, would it?

            And by the way.
            THANK YOU.
            I’m playing Grim Fandango yet again, but this time via Residual and with working acceleration and doable (via logitech driver) joystick bindings it is the best experience I had with it ever!

          • jrodman says:

            Widthwood: The analogy is fair since you created the framing, that those who don’t contribute don’t have fair ground to speak regardless of whether the platform was happening.

            That the platform IS happening is good news but was not included in the framing you criticised. The situation in REALITY of course seems to be that the linux version is still on the way. That doesn’t seem too much worth grumbling about but again it wasn’t in the framing you set out.

            Meanwhile McCoy: you open source people *are* allowed to get money from ScummVM both legally and morally (unless you tied your own hands on this one). If the project chooses to avoid all forms of licensing, and deal-seeking, then I certainly can’t fault them, but I do believe the door is open. Personally I have donated but I know it only ends up defraying costs.

            It is true that Linux versions of games are overpromised and underdelivered, and I get kind of tired of it myself as well.

        • Deano2099 says:

          The quote I reported was sent out in a backer update, but that update was just a copy of the press release that went out to the media. I don’t know why your favorite Linux gaming sites didn’t report it at the time (some people did, like Gamers Hell – link to gamershell.com , so the info was out there for journos doing their jobs).

          And like you said, they put out the information publicly themselves on the Kickstarter page – the 400k stretch goal was Linux support, they reached it, Linux support is happening. That’s the latest ‘public’ word they put out about it, and it’s still true. You’re the one jumping to conclusions that it wasn’t happening any more.

          • DrMcCoy says:

            Huh, okay, interesting. Yeah, no gaming news site I read reported on it (as you can see, Rock, Paper, Shotgun didn’t either). A cursory googling I did (when I searched for any information that Linux support might have been dropped) didn’t yield anything either.

            Maybe I am too paranoid, but several other Kickstarter projects not following through with Linux ports, or keeping mum about it has got me a bit jumpy. And especially the official website not mentioning anything (but mentioning upcoming iOS and Android ports) really set me off.

  11. bill says:

    Is that the 10th Doctor and Keiron Gillen in the screenshot? That seems like it would break the timeline.

  12. grimdanfango says:

    Amusing Orbital reference acknowledged. Good job.

  13. tomimt says:

    Judging from the demo I think this might turn out to be a decent game, but it definetly looks and plays like a budget game it is. The characters animation is pretty horrible as is most of the voice acting.

    • yonsito says:

      I’m more concerned about the quality of the writing. I was really disappointed with Cognition.

  14. P-Dazzle says:

    Looks pretty bad, almost as if it’s mocking the genre.

    • Deano2099 says:

      See – this is what a $400k adventure game looks like. Puts Broken Age in to some perspective no?

      • manny says:

        Its the burden of realism in the human models that’s the killer. Not sure how they could have handled that any better. Maybe they could have stuck to 2d and animated that.

  15. fenriz says:

    We used to have fun with text adventures and now we’re criticizing the prettiness of the models, like fashion bitches?

    What happened to men?

    And even more ironically, i know a couple of girls who play only puzzle adventures and donotcare what thye see(precisely because they have no experience in graphic appraising bullshit), they’re in for the mental exercise

    Goddamn are we rotten.

    • P-Dazzle says:

      People also used to have fun living in caves, but we advanced. We are human, we aspire to be better.

    • tomimt says:

      We used to play text adevntures because back then that was the limitation of tech if you wanted to make a story rich game. We played low-resolution games because that was again a limitation of tech. Same with no voice acting or one tone music. People expect better because we aren’t in the 80’s anymore.

      • jrodman says:

        Of course it isn’t really better, it’s just different.
        But when executed excellently it’s surely more accessible.

  16. jseph1234 says:

    I thought the game was good based on its budget AND if you haven’t payed money to back the project, you should keep your mouth shut.

    Because obviously you are not willing to put your money where your mouth is, just words to bad mouth and….”words are wind….worth nothing!”