Oleomingus will continue their run of making some of the prettiest video games around in Under A Porcelain Sun. Last week the two-person Indian studio announced this next journey into Somewhere, their strange and wonderful cross-game look at stories about searches for a mythical city. It’s a big tangle of stories within stories within storybooks within virtual museums within games within true stories within fake histories, a post-colonial explosion of attempts to capture culture and history. Also it’s all chuffing beautiful. Come look at these fields of toothpaste and towers of taps:
Cracking music too.
To get a sense of what it might be, I’d suggest trying Somewhere’s Timruk storybook and A Museum Of Dubious Splendors, both of which are pay-what-you-want with no minimum (and Museum is free on Steam now too). Somewhere was at one point, long ago, being made as a first-person stealth game. That never quite worked in early prototypes Oleomingus released, and I’ve been glad to see them cut the idea down to walk-o-stories in recent bits of Somewhere.
I could not tell you quite what Under A Porcelain Sun will be. Their fragments of Somewhere have included pages of written history books, photographs which are portals to other places, snippets of histories, plays, museums… layers of reality and unreality stack up with no real distinction between the two. Oleomingus call it a “text-driven first-person adventure” so sure, let’s say walk-o-story.
What’s this particular story about?
“Set in surreal Colonial India it chronicles the journey of two itinerant thieves, Aziz and Azaam, as they get embroiled in the search for a mythical city called Kayamgadh, and in the mysterious death of RumalChand Kedru.
“Travel through nineteenth century Malwa, as you encounter salt bandits and brass astronomers; Armies of langoors who all know a secret and decadent Magistrates living in castles of glue; Wax people who melt at noon everyday, only to emerge as different people and Gemstone merchants who live in wells. Mendicants and Jagirdars made of smoke and all manner of strange citizenry that wander the desolate Bhula region. All the while attempting to flee soldiers from the Gwalior cantonment who are searching for you, for having peddled forgeries to their Company commander.
“Explore a strange and decadent region abandoned after the Bhir rebellion, and play through an absurd revision of Colonial history, while jumping through characters and time and stories in bewildering multitude.”
Under A Porcelain Sun is due out this summer. A Steam page is already up, if you’d find that helpful.