I Want To Believe: To Azimuth

Ring ring.

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:

12 Comments

  1. G says:

    Unless Jazz Carnival is on the soundtrack I’m not interested

  2. Zallgrin says:

    The trailer is really charming and I’m digging the mood of this. Hate to compare a original and sweet game like this, but it does remind me of Kentucky Route Zero.

    • Tacroy says:

      I rather imagine that KRZ set the tone for a certain class of adventure game over the next decade.

    • Monggerel says:

      The only way in which I can even try and compare this to Kentucky Route Zero is by saying that the design of the character’s model is slightly similar to those in KRZ.

      • Zallgrin says:

        Not only. The outdated technology and the setting of Alabama does have some similarities, as well as the sheer mundaness of alien (hah, pun!) things happening.

        I also agree with Tacroy – yeah, I hope that Kentucky Route Zero inspired a lot of people! Thoughtful and mysterious games like that are a true treat and I can never get enough of those.

    • GameCat says:

      It sure borrows many things from KRZ, but it doesn’t seems like shameless copy.
      They both are like very good jazz musicans – the mood, instrumentation etc. are very similiar, but they both have their unique style of playing.

    • B.rake says:

      Haven’t tried KRZ. Reminds me a bit of Another World for some reason (the flattened low-poly look I guess?).

  3. EkoAzarak says:

    I have found more interesting and amazing games on Rock Paper Shotgun than any other site… by far.

    i have a bookmark folder called “Games Must Get” and its full. thanks

  4. Hex says:

    One of the Kickstarter stretch goals should be “music by Angelo Badalamenti.”

  5. snowgim says:

    Wow, that’s an effective trailer, made even more creepy and effective by the fact that I accidentally opened it in two tabs, so halfway through the phone call started again over the top of the other one. Shame it wasn’t on purpose. :)
    It should have restarted the call over the top 3 or 4 times until it was indecipherable chatter by the end shot.
    But still, looks great.

  6. Premium User Badge

    zapatapon says:

    It’s been a really long time that I haven’t gambled my money on a KS, but I’m sold to this one.
    I’m worried about some aspects (I seriously hope they add a running option — I understand it does not go well with the general mood, but taking ages to backtrack between several points in an adventure game can kill the atmosphere even more effectively), but the art direction appears amazing.

    • B.rake says:

      Looks gorgeous! Backed as well.

      Slow travel ruins a lot of games for me too. Even though I often enjoy meandering around and taking in the view, eventually want to get on with the gameplay bits- especially in an adventure game where you may have missed some clue 5 well-traversed screens back . I don’t think a jog/run option necessarily breaks the mood/atmosphere in an adventure game- even though the player is not the character, filling in for her sensory-motor faculties gives the player enough agency that it feels natural even as it might be unexpected within the broader context of a scene.