As far as surreal exploration games go, Off-Peak definitely succeeds at keeping me interested. While technically your objective is to gather up the pieces of a torn train ticket to get out, you really just spend the majority of the time wandering through a train station studded with oddities and interacting with the even stranger people. Goalless, abstract, and a little self-consciously clever, Off-Peak just steps aside and lets you wander.
The train station of Off-Peak is designed to be visually interesting, which means that yes, sometimes it’s just bizarre. It’s weird and sometimes funny, loaded with references to things I did and didn’t get. It’s part Alice in Wonderland, part collage. There’s something in it for everybody. Turn the corner–you never know what you’ll see.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Friday, February 20th, 2015||No Comments »|
It’s a little early to be writing about Return of the Obra Dinn, but bear with me. Made by Lucas Pope–of Papers, Please fame–Return of the Obra Dinn is about a mysterious merchant ship that sets out in 1802, vanishes, and returns in 1808 devoid of crew. An insurance adjuster from the East India Company’s London Office must find a way to board the ship and find out what happened. Luckily, he has the power of temporary time travel on his side.
The premise is intriguing, but the current playable demo–really more of an alpha release–reveals only the bare bones of Return of the Obra Dinn. What’s been laid out though is eye-catching. The Obra Dinn is crafted out of stark, minimalist lines and a black-and-white grainy texture, sort of like an old computer game. As your inspector pokes around the ship and turns back his pocket watch, frozen figures caught mid-action are revealed: a man falling backwards with an axe embedded in his chest and another man firing a gun at a sailor reeling away. Whatever happened on the Obra Dinn, it was bloody, it was dark, and it remains utterly unknown.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Thursday, February 12th, 2015||No Comments »|
This particular desert might be made out of beige pixels and some sound effects, but Sandstorm evokes the desperation and loneliness of the desert even through the computer screen. Sparsely and simply illustrated, the game follows the long journey of a stick figure crossing a desert.
But Sandstorm isn’t Oregon Trail. Every night heralds the arrival of a sandstorm that blots out the screen. Every morning you wake up to find your camel gone and your provisions scattered. Before you can progress, you have to trek out into the sands to find your compass, camel, and anything else. Take too long to find them and night falls again, bringing with it another sandstorm, and you might as well say goodbye to your items forever. Spend too much time crossing the desert and your character begins each day with a little note detailing the slow erosion of his sanity.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Thursday, February 5th, 2015||No Comments »|