Away: Journey to the Unexpected [official site] looks like a cartoon come to life, in a way that reminds me of Rayman and his Oranges. It was no surprise to see that one member of the two-person team working on Away was a level designer on the Rayman franchise. The art and code is the work of Aurélien Regard, who you may know as the creator of The Next Penelope.
This new game is a first-person adventure “with roguelite elements” and it appears to have a friendly skeleton pal, so, yes, I approve.
What a lovely thing that is, don’t you think? I’m not even particularly keen on the art style – it looks like the kind of cartoon young Adam would probably have frowned at – but it’s so beautifully made that it won me over almost immediately. Skelechum is clearly my favourite character but let’s give some love to the Labiworks Manager who appears to have been involved in a horrific chemical spill, but hasn’t lost any of his cheeriness.
One of the key aspects of the game is that you can play as any character.
“Progress through the levels and the story, choose your path, but above all, recruit allies. All the strange characters you meet in game can be played in first person, and it’s up to you to find the right answers to get them to join your team!
“Idiotic workmen, mysteries from outer space, oddball friends, and fast combat await!”
Maybe that skellington won’t be the only thing that reminds me of Undertale a little – I can already see myself feeling a little bit terrible about beating some cute little monster to death, and then realising I could have recruited it if I’d just been a little more patient and understanding.
There’s no release date other than “2017” at the moment, the project having only been announced last week, but the team will be looking for playtesters in the coming weeks. Keep an eye on the website for news. On a final note, the phrase “Away: Journey to the Unexpected” sounds almost exactly like the advice my Irish grandfather gave me when, at sixteen years old, I asked him whether I should get a job close to home or try living in a different city.