Two siblings searching for their brother in late-’70s Alabama; whispers of alien abduction and government conspiracies; optional extra puzzles that reveal more of the plot; a clean low-poly look. Any one of those would have me giving an adventure game a closer look, but they’re all in To Azimuth, the latest from [bracket]games. I enjoyed their last game, Three Fourths Home, and am keen to see what they do in something larger. If they get Kickstarter funding.
To Azimuth sees a brother and sister searching for their vanished brother, Eli, a Vietnam veteran who’d been struggling to return to regular life. And might have been abducted by aliens. Susannah and Nate are both playable but take different, overlapping paths through the story. Neatly, you can choose to import your decisions from a save file with the other character to reflect their choices.
Here’s a great thing: the main path is playable without uncovering every clue and nugget of information. You’ll miss out on things and it’ll change the story, but you needn’t solve every puzzle and find everything. I like the sound of that an awful lot. I’m increasingly frustrated by the rigidity of adventure games and flustered by adventure game logic, not to mention that fierce gating can ruin the flow of a story.
Here’s another great thing: almost all dialogue is choices, some shaping the game and some simply letting you play the characters how you want. I’m glad that’s becoming common nowadays.
[Bracket] are looking for $20,000 (£13k) on Kickstarter to finish development. Pledging $10 (£6.50) will get you a copy of the finished game, expected in September 2015, or it’s $15 (£9.50) for a version with a Kickstarter-exclusive prologue. They say that prologue is “an extra bit of meaningful interaction and world-building that will not detract from the main game if it is missed”, but it still seems weird keep stuff to from folks who can’t or don’t back it now, for one of innumerable reasons, but might turn out to love it.
Here’s a little of a prototype, which unfortunately they haven’t released publicly. But look at the fancy, fancy effect for switching between places, panels of scenery rising into the sky: