Let’s do another one, ’cause why not? Over the summer, I played some very intriguing story-driven games, so I will focus on those for this issue.
One of my favorite Flash games of all time. This game was truly touching. To be honest, it’s more of a book on a screen with graphics than a “game,” but that’s what I found awesome about it. I don’t want to spoil anything, as the story is a central part of this game, but the general idea is that you are a lone warrior living by himself in a small cottage, when your life is touched by some new friends. It isn’t complex or hard to follow. Instead, while playing, you will feel relaxed, lonely, and joyful. I’m personally really interested in how games can be used to teach us things, and this tiny Flash game blew me away. It really proves that when made well, a video game is no worse than a book. With minimal pixel art, and few scenes where the story actually takes place, the developer did an amazing job not only developing the world, but also in creating characters you understand.
As if one wasn’t good enough, there is actually a direct sequel to Home – Journey Home, which I actually ended up playing first, unaware that it was the second in its series. Once again, the developer blew me away. The new story was just as awesome, and the developer managed to connect it cleverly back to the first game.
Anyone who is looking for a relaxing, story-driven game that makes you think about life should check these out. I’m at a loss for words at how good this series is, and I hope the developer continues these masterpieces.
There is No Game
A witty point-and-click puzzle game that’s well worth your time. As you may have already divined from its title, this game is . . . quirky, to say the least. The puzzles are incredibly clever, and you really have to think outside of the box (in very literal ways) to solve them. Solving each puzzle, one after another, to advance the story gave me a strange sort of pleasure. This was in part due to the incredibly well-done voice acting of an incorporeal “narrator” who peppers you with both hints and taunts. For example, when he tells you not to touch something, you instantly feel a strong desire to do exactly that, and when you finally disobey him and hear the annoyance in his voice, you may well smile. This game makes you feel clever while incorporating a unique sense of humor into the mix of things.
Dead Frontier: Outbreak
I’ve never been much into zombie/horror games, but for some reason I enjoyed this one very much. It’s a very heavily story-driven game, with lots of text, kind of like a Choose Your Own Adventure: Zombie Edition. Aside from the dynamic plot, it was a more realistic zombie game, where you’re not Chuck Norris and you aren’t invincible. Similar to the previous title on this list, there is some great voice acting for this game, which helps create an immersive play experience. Instead of aiming to scare the wits out of you, Dead Frontier: Outbreak simply attempts to tell a good story with a tense environment, and I’d say it does a pretty darn good job doing just that. It plays very much like an interactive storybook, in which you will be given choices on what to do, such as “should I approach that human-like silhouette?” and “should I make a run for it?” You can die from being too careless, but there’s not much of a penalty since you restart not too far from where you died. Playing through this game again to see the different outcomes of particular choices can be interesting as well. Along with Home, this intense zombie game really proves that video games can be a great storytelling medium.
(Yes, the similarity between names is coincidental.) Although not perfect, I’d recommend this game to anyone who is interested in game economies. Frontier is a trading game, and aside from some simple combat, decision making, and quests, that’s pretty much it. However, for some reason, when you get into this game and look past its seemingly complicated trading prices, there’s a strange relaxation to be found traveling between towns trading goods to increase your wealth. This game even gives a very simple, but good view of how basic trading works. It’s fun trying to find where you can buy a material for the least cost and where you can sell it for the most profit. Are you going to risk getting caught transferring illegal poisons and drugs that sell for very high profits? A slight problem with this game is that once you find the most efficient way to make money, there’s not much incentive to travel to other towns, which can cause the game to become a grind.
This game has incredible potential, and I had a lot of fun spending hours trading and traveling around its 2D map. It did a great job presenting an interesting idea, but there were some flaws with its execution. A sequel with some slightly more complex systems, and a bit more polished graphics, would be wonderful. Another idea would be to implement the mechanics from Frontier into a more traditional RPG-like game to serve as the economy system. Despite its flaws, I would recommend trying this game for even just a couple of minutes to see the interesting ideas it has to offer.