A first-person explore-a-stealth-o-chat game about stepping into books and other people’s heads to see different sides of a story sounds right up oh so many of my alleys, so I’ve been keeping an eye on Somewhere. I cooed and gushed about how pretty it was looking in July, and today I heartily enjoyed poking around that surreal house myself. Developers Oleomingus have released a free “early alpha” build under the name Rituals, showing a separate area to their earlier “pre-alpha” standalone Fictions. It is a game to be curious about and toy with. It is pleasant.
If you don’t poke around, leave conversations, read books, step in photographs, enter heads, dick around in flashbacks, and replay it, Rituals might be short and straightforward. But get curious and you might see how it’s inspired by authors such as Jorge Luis Borges and Italo Calvino–a branching story about a search for a mythical city, told in little bits from many views by people who are all characters in others’ stories.
I still haven’t figured out quite what’s going on with an optional environmental puzzle either.
I’m curious to see the shape Somewhere, the final game, will take. Unless it ends up quite different, I suspect that stealth system might get cut. It’s nice enough, but it’s felt out of place in both Rituals and Fictions. I’m not sure what it adds beyond stalling, wasting time as you scamper off and wait for AI to return to their normal routine so you can slip into their head. We’ll see!
Oleomingus don’t have a firm release date for Somewhere yet. Do follow their Tumblr for lovely screenshots (crumbs, it really is a looker!). Here’s a not-really-a-trailer for Ritual: