"Hitchhike your way to weirdness in The Long Way [official site] is one abandoned opening to this post. I would say "I like The Long Way a lot and I hope you might to and it's free so go play it" but where's the sparkle, where's the zazz? Two clumsy attempts is probably enough to demonstrate this is one of those games I struggle to explain because I like it so much. It's a weird hitchhiking... conversational adventure game? in a land with big, big skies and odd people offering lifts.
It's a surreal and malevolent yet serene journey, split between walking along the road waiting to be picked up and chatting to people in cars. Each conversational is a textual puzzle of sorts with multiple outcomes, but we get to do the important ones over and over (unless we end up super-murdered). Glitchhikers comes to mind, obviously. Our character is just as unknown and odd as the people we're riding with too. Figuring out who we are is part of it.
And oh me oh my, it is gorgeous. Look at that screenshot! That sky! Those mountains and outcrops! That telegraph pole! The only sound is quiet, moody music. The scenes in cars are gorgeous too. The game's a beautiful place where the distinction between dreams and reality seems unimportant. It's how these far-off places feel in my imagination.
Developers Blunt Instrument Studios made The Long Way during the recent Global Game Jam, but say they are still working on it. I'm very glad to hear that.
I'd have made a little video but you should just go play it. You can play in your browser for free or download it for Windows and Mac. Top tip: left-click interacts with certain objects on the roadside, while holding space holds up your thumb.
Ta to Warp Door for their keen eyes.