Epitasis offers a lovely dreamy alien puzzler demo

Epitasis

Today I’ve been trying to find and push some games with demos because demos are a dying art (or at least a shrinking art because of Steam refunds and the like) so let’s look at Epitasis [official site]! Epitasis has a demo to support a Kickstarter campaign which is running until 20 August. The game itself looks to be a non-linear dreamy puzzler with influences like Myst and Talos Principle. In his email the developer, Lucas Govatos, mentioned that people sometimes compare it to No Man’s Sky and I think that would be because of the setting – all big moons on horizons and red grass and strange structures. That said it actually reminds me far more of the monthly-ish walking simulator projects of Connor Sherlock because of the colour palettes combined with the alien landscapes.

I’ve only had time to play a few minutes of the demo so the puzzling has been very light and I’ve mostly been walking around to take a closer look at structures or to screenshot light shafts piercing the treeline so I’ll just share this snippet from the Kickstarter for context:

“Having stumbled upon an ancient portal, you take a leap of faith and suddenly find yourself amidst the remnants of an ancient alien civilization. Cryptic puzzles, forgotten technologies and treasured relics are riddled amongst the beautiful wilderness that has engulfed the remains of this fallen race.

“If you are to learn their secrets, you must unearth the fate of the civilization that called these lost worlds home.”

Epitasis is terminology from classical drama – it just refers to the main action, usually bang in the middle of proceedings. Protasis was the introduction and the end was the catastrophe, in case you were interested. I think the dramatic arc later got fleshed out into five parts rather than three, but anyway.

Govatos continues,

“I’ve been working on this game for roughly a year now – fragments and images of it have been in my mind for as long as I can remember; visions of wide open green plains, large alien moons, metallic ruins dotting the landscape, huge alien forests to climb and sprawling alien cities to navigate.

“As an artist, I want the game to be as beautiful as possible, colorful and vivid as I see it in my mind. As a computer scientist, I want the game to be logical and puzzling, forged together with knowledge you must learn only by experiencing it yourself.”

I don’t know if it’s concept art or a gif from actual game footage but this is lovely:

The Kickstarter is seeking $11,650 and the details are here (all the usual crowdfunding caveats apply).

2 Comments

  1. poliovaccine says:

    Good on you, in your aim to resuscitate the practice of demos! For all that some folks would like us to just take Steam refunds for our “demo period” these days, the glaring difference there is that no demo actually requires you to pay the full price of the game first, however temporarily.

    Of course, the hope is that, once you’ve already paid to try it, if you like it even a little, you’ll be more inclined to simply, passively *keep* it than you will be to go seek it out and purchase it if you have a good experience with a standalone demo… but that’s really only understandable from a “maximizing profits” viewpoint, and less so from the viewpoint of, yknow, a lowly consumer such as myself, who may not want or even be able to set aside $60-65 USD to try a title for two hours. I know you get it right back if you return the title, but to call that practice equivalent to releasing standalone demos is misguided at best. There’s a fairly significant psychological barrier taken down already by forcing the player to pay for the title just to try it out, and it’s one which relies on gaming human nature to shift its units, rather than, yknow, the self-evident quality of the games.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ingix says:

      The decline of demos happened *many years* before Steam Refunds was a thing, and I don’t see anything that happened afterwards to conclude that Steam Refunds had any impact on demos. Sure, some guy will *claim* that they don’t need to provide a demo because of Steam Refunds, but to me that’s just an excuse given when before they simply said nothing.

      It *may* also be correct that AAA titles don’t profit (or are even hurt, as some claim) by demos, because the the big PR machine will be much better able to create sales. But that indie games, who have to fight for every bit of attention they can get, don’t do that more, I simply don’t understand.

      It need not be before publication of the game, as was usual in the old days, when physical distribution mandated a 3-4 week break between “game done” and “game buyable”. If the demo comes 2-3 month later, you will have fixed the bugs that your first adopters found *and* will (hopefully) get a new attention boost because (unlike the old days) a demo is actually newsworthy today!