Ever since Flash fell out of vogue, vector art has become an increasingly rare sight in games, so when mythical puzzle-adventure Atone popped up, it’s hard not to sit up straight and pay attention. The debut game from New Zealand-based Wildboy Studios, it’s hard to do it justice in a 620-pixel wide thumbnail, so come and check out the trailer within, and do be sure to watch it full-screen at maximum resolution.
Atone almost looks like a game from a parallel universe where Another World sparked a worldwide interest in sharp vector-based art, filled with fine details drawn with mechanical precision and set in a world of harsh angles, not entirely dissimilar to Capy’s Swords & Sworcery. It’s a beautifully distinct style, and while some elements spark off familiar memories, as a whole it doesn’t look quite like anything I can recall.
While primarily puzzle-focused, there will apparently be times in Atone where you can’t talk your way out of trouble. The combat engine looks just as distinct as the rest of the game, though, with battles being resolved through a rhythm game – a deadly dance indeed, and an interesting divergence from traditional action or turn-based RPG formats.
The puzzles themselves look abstract and logic-heavy, leaning on the same squishy brain-meats that The Witness pulverised so adeptly back in 2016. I can already tell that I am going to be absolutely terrible at this game and probably end up resorting to a walkthrough before long, but I’ll give it my best shot nonetheless.
Right now there’s no release date – or even a vague target – pinned down for Atone yet, but there is a mailing list you can sign up for on Atone’s official site, as well as plenty more details on the game.