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Sluggish Morss: Pattern Circus intertwines eight strange alien tales

Jack King-Spooner’s games are fascinating worlds to explore. Constructs of collage and clay, mixed media and minigames. Dream-like and melancholic tales both small and personal (Beeswing, Dujanah) or broadly philosophical as in his strange sci-fi Sluggish Morss series. For his next, he’s aiming a little higher and turning to Kickstarter to fund development of Sluggish Morss: Pattern Circus, an action-adventure set in a strange alien universe, telling the interwoven tales of eight playable characters. Below, a pitch trailer and fantastic music.

Citing an astonishing grab-bag of influences including David Cronenberg, Alejandro Jodorowsky and even early Tool music videos, what interests me most is Spooner’s invoking of Live A Live, a Super Nintendo game that never (officially) made it out of Japan. It was a narrative-heavy RPG that felt years ahead of its time, telling seven seemingly unconnected stories of wildly different genre and tone across time and space, with a final act that brought together characters as disparate as a gun-slinging cowboy and a pacifist maintenance robot from the future.

As grim as the trailer/pitch may make Sluggish Morss look, I’m expecting there to be a vein of strange humour running through it. Dujanah used jokes to both lighten the mood and unsettle, with a studio laugh track in just the wrong place adding a nightmarish spin to things. Its eight strange characters, including a child, a detective, a a racer and a dreamer fill my head with exciting possibilities, and I’m already eager to poke around their weird, lumpen world. I may be waiting a while, as there’s over a year more work to be done. Spooner is aiming for a January 2020 launch.

I’m also excited for the soundtrack. Dujanah was accompanied by some great tunes, and Spooner has roped in some musical talent for this one. It’s all-new compositions here, and Spooner claims they’re aiming for “something between disco and prog rock”, plus dives into electronica and even noise rock. The Kickstarter page includes two full tracks and two snippets, and they’re all well worth a listen. In fact, I’ll save you a click and just embed the positively grimy-sounding ‘I Check My Gutter’ here.

The Sluggish Morss: Pattern Circus Kickstarter has just started, and aims raise a mere £7,000 over the next month, aiming for a January 2020 launch if all goes to plan. £8 gets you a copy of the game when it’s done. You can check out Spooner’s other (free) work, including past Sluggish Morss games here on Game Jolt, and snap up his previous world of clay, sadness and great music – Dujanah – here in the Steam Halloween sale for £3.24/€4.54/$4.54.

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Dominic Tarason

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