LudoNarraCon 2021: Lake

What’s this: a post about a title from this year’s LudoNarraCon which isn’t focused on being a detective? While Murder Mystery Machine and Song of Farca were about gathering evidence and tracking down criminals, this one offers an entirely different experience.

I wasn’t entirely sure Gamious’ project was going to be for me though while checking out the Steam page during the event at the end of April. The screenshots for Lake were pretty enough and I liked the idea of there being ‘no right or wrong answers’; but the description made it seem as though it could be, well, a little boring. After watching the trailer however and enjoying the way the narrator made the whole thing sound like an American television show, I decided to give the demo a try.

The story takes place in 1986 and begins when 40-something Meredith Weiss, a successful software developer, leaves the big city and returns to her quiet hometown of Providence Oaks in Oregon. She’s there to fill in as the local mail carrier for her dad for two weeks so this is quite a change of pace. It’s up to you to decide who she talks to, along with who to befriend or even start a relationship with, and at the end of her stint she’ll have to make up her mind: return to her job in the city or stay in the town she grew up in?

The setting is instantly recognisable as small-town America even to players who don’t live in the country. The shops dotted around Providence Oak, such as the General Store and Mo’s Diner, and wooden-cladded houses instantly make you think of television shows such as Dawson’s Creek or Gilmore Girls. Throw in some 80s nostalgia and an atmosphere which reminded me of something like Firewatch, and you’ve pretty summed up that trailer I mentioned earlier.

Chapters in Lake come in the form of days and each morning starts with a chat with your colleague Frank at the post office. He has already kindly loaded the van so you jump in and check your map, then stop at various addresses along a circular route around the lake to drop off letters and parcels. During my hour with the demo, the most ‘shocking’ things that happened were the song changing on the radio and some birds flapping overhead as I drove around a corner.

In some ways, the title isn’t that different to an RPG because it gives you a reason to travel to locations, complete a task and then return to your base. It’s this for this reason that I couldn’t help thinking to myself: ‘This is like Grand Theft Auto but without the crime and violence.’ Funnily enough, lead writer Jos Bouman referred to Lake as ‘some sort of anti-GTA’ during an interview with The Escapist, saying: “We just want to have a game that makes the experience sincere and mature. And we don’t want macho bullshit.”

LudoNarraCon, Lake

It’s not just about delivering the post though. I struck up conversations with several interesting characters met during my day on the road and perhaps even started a few new friendships too. A parcel delivery to the video rental store resulted in owner Angie giving me a copy of The Postman Always Rings Twice; and there was a trip to Mr Mackey with sick cat Mortimer too. (Hopefully it’s just Meredith feeing him cupcakes again rather than something more serious.)

There are apparently around 20 people to meet and interact with, of different ages and backgrounds who, according to Bouman, ‘have made decisions or are about to make decisions in their life’. Not everyone is going to be friendly or happy though. The development team wanted to make a game which is true to life and so tried to include a whole range of personalities in their non-player characters (NPCs), all mixed up with moments of joy, humour and sincerity.

Your nights in Providence Oaks can vary depending on the relationships you build. I found myself in front of the television on my first evening and then watching that video borrowed from Angie on the next; and it seems as though you can decide to meet up with other people at different locations if you’ve made arrangements. This day-night cycle adds some variety to Lake and makes a nice change from delivering the mail, as well as giving the player a sense of progression.

Perhaps the best thing about Lake for me during the demo was just how well everything fits together. The 1986 setting is during a time before mobile phones and the technology which now pretty much rules every aspect of our lives; and a job as a mail carrier gives Meredith the perfect opportunity to meet so many people. It therefore means real conversations with people rather than emails and text messages, and the whole thing feels completely natural as a result.

Bouman said in The Escapist interview: “In Lake, one of the most important decisions you have to make in the end is – are you going to stay in the village and say goodbye to your career in the big city? Or are you going to decide that you want more out of life? You make decisions that feel best for you… There is no right or wrong ending.” Unfortunately I had to miss the end of the demo thanks to a family barbecue, but I’m eager to see more after completing through the first three days.

I remember playing Eastshade back in 2019 and not wanting to leave when I reached the end of the title. It was just such a calming experience: no violence, no chance of getting attacked in the woods, just a desire to get to know the people on the island and help them if I could. This is the same impression I got from the short time I’ve spent with Lake so far. I might not have thought it was going to be for me while reading the Steam page, but it was added to my wishlist immediately after the demo.

The game is due for release on PC this summer but, if you want to get your hands on it faster, it’s going to appear on Xbox a little earlier. Check out Gamious on Twitter for the latest details.

LudoNarraCon 2021: Song of Farca

Song of Farca first hit my radar during a previous Steam Game Festival. It was a demo I was keen to try out, being a detective game featuring a female protagonist, but unfortunately time got the better of me and I missed my chance before the end of the event.

Fortunately, Wooden Monkeys project made a reappearance at last month’s LudoNarraCon and so it was added to my priority list. And after completing the prologue around an hour later, it was added to my wishlist too. Although it felt more like a visual novel and less lifelike than the other detective title I’d checked out, Murder Mystery Machine, there was still enough investigation in the gameplay and intrigue in the narrative to make me sit up and pay attention.

The story takes place in the city of Farca, during a time where technology isn’t just a part of everyday life but has made some things impossible without it. IT corporations gradually gain more influence and have become a modern aristocracy which couldn’t care less about the law or mere mortals. The corrupt government and criminal organisations are still trying to resist the powerful corporations, but they know that their golden age is over and Farca entering a cyberpunk future.

Residents are left with no choice but to turn to private investigators to solve their problems. As detective Isabella Song, you must uncover the crimes that the police have turned a blind eye to due to pressure from the mafia. You’ll have the help of gadgets, a small army of drones and your intellect; and even being under house-arrest for becoming involved in a bar fight won’t stop you from doing your job. After all, it’s no problem for a hacker to get online and find what they need.

A client is already calling you with your first case at the start of the prologue. A prototype eTerrier was stolen from the CTO of ApportPlastik while it was being taken for a walk in a local park and his young daughter is now heartbroken. After finding out where the dog was last seen, you digitally head over to the location and do what you do best: hack into the security cameras to start your investigation, download as much information as you can and track down the criminals.

Several useful abilities are at your disposal. Accessing a camera allows you to interact with the objects within its view and jumping between them all will give you a complete top-down overview of an area. You might come across a drone or a cargo bot which will enable some movement within the location. There may also be computers or tablets to unlock, but you’ll need to first figure out a distraction if these items are being guarded by an employee or security guard.

For example: there’s a drone in the park but it’s blocked by two children who are misbehaving. Using the available cameras, you come across a fountain switch – what better way to attract the kids by turning on the water? This means the drone is then free to scan the area and turn on an alarm, alerting the guard and causing them to be drawn away from their office. Hacking into their computer there lets you access the CCTV footage and download the video so your investigation can continue.

This footage can be digitally enhanced through a simple visual puzzle to give you the face of a person, who can then be searched for on the internet and a profile created from the details uncovered. You can also see the plates of the van used to take the eTerrier, which can be analysed by your artificial intelligence (AI) Maurice to give you its current location. All of this information is added to your digital investigation board and it’s here that you can see all the links between the evidence.

Unlike the mind-map board in Murder Mystery Machine where it’s up to the player to make the connections, they’re automatically displayed for you. That doesn’t mean there isn’t any detective work involved though; sometimes you’ll need to call the people for whom you’ve gained contact numbers and see what you can get out of them. You might have to prove that they’re lying by showing them a particular item or make a conclusion based on what you already know to back them into a corner.

Your assumptions won’t always be correct however, and wrong answers could have consequences. You can only talk to people for as long as they wish to tolerate your presence and jumping to a wrong conclusion could result in them ending the conversation. Players will need to use their detective skills to rely on the facts and avoid falling for any lies told by the suspects, because your decisions will affect the course of the story and you’ll need to live with the outcome of your actions.

I’m not sure I sure much of this mechanic during the prologue but the Steam page advises that Isabella’s situation will become more complicated as the narrative progresses: “The stakes get higher, and the various plot strands come together to form a single story. The choices you make in investigations have important consequences to the plot. Do you convict the suspect that all the evidence is pointing to or dig deeper? What collateral damage will you leave behind you?”

While Murder Mystery Machine is a game based in reality, Song of Farca feels a little more story-based and futuristic; and where Isabella’s methods are reliant on technology rather than old-fashioned detective work, the gameplay feels more focused on the conversations you have with other characters. It’s still up to the player to lead the investigation though and find the evidence that will lead them to the correct suspect. It’s pleasing when you succeed in making a correct logical leap between clues or solve a visual puzzle.

Song of Farca is due to release this summer, so hopefully we won’t have long to wait to find out what Isabella has gotten herself involved in. Until then, give Wooden Monkeys a follow on Twitter to stay up-to-date on their progress.

LudoNarraCon 2021: Murder Mystery Machine

Regular Later Levels’ visitors will know I have a thing for detective games. Give me a storyline featuring a hardboiled investigator, hidden clues and devious crooks, along with gameplay where it’s up to the player to solve the crime and I’m there.

It’s therefore no surprise that Murder Mystery Machine was added to my wishlist immediately after coming across Blazing Griffin’s project on Steam in December 2019. Teasing a series of murders, disappearances and conspiracies, the trailer showed two protagonists trying to link them together. I’ve now had the opportunity to try a demo of the game for myself during LudoNarraCon at the end of April – and I can’t wait to get my sleuthing on during the full release.

Players join fresh-faced rookie Cassandra Clarke on her first day with the District Crime Agency (DCA) where she’s teamed with a reluctant burnt-out detective named Nate Huston. They’re sent to investigate the murder of a prominent politician which at first seems to be a botched robbery; but the evidence soon entwines them in a complex, interconnected series of crimes which are anything but an open-and-shut case. Will you be up to the challenge to discover the truth?

Justin Alae-Carew and Neil McPhillips from Blazing Griffin gave some insight into their game’s design during a livestream for LudoNarraCon. Because the company spans video game, film and television development and production, they wanted to combine these areas and create an interesting title which felt like a police drama you’d see on TV. The result is a ‘detective mystery puzzle game which combines a few genres in one’ and takes place across eight episodes made up of several scenes.

The demo features three scenes for a case and each of these follows a similar format. You start by speaking to the witnesses or suspects if any are present then comb the environment for clues, sometimes having to turn or zoom into the isometric view to get a better look from a different angle. Every piece of evidence found is placed on a mind-map board where it can be linked together, and connections made can give the detectives new ideas and dialogue options.

For example: you discover that the politician has a political rival so could a hit have been arranged? Talking to the secretary reveals she was told not to answer questions from the press and didn’t tell anyone else of his whereabouts. Linking these two pieces of information on the mind-map causes Cassandra to realise that this theory isn’t possible so it rules out the rival as a suspect; and a further conversation with the secretary as a result uncovers some useful information.

Murder Mystery Machine, video game, office, secretary, detectives, sofa, Cassandra, Nate

During their livestream, Alae-Carew and McPhillips shared that the game started out as a ‘procedural crime scene generator’ and then evolved into something else. They wanted to create a freeform title where players were given a lot of freedom to investigate, as many current detective releases streamline the gameplay too much or include puzzles not related to the investigation. Focusing on a detective’s skills including powers of logic and deduction, and a desire to include a narrative led to what is now Murder Mystery Machine.

The biggest challenge the development team faced from day one was working with people who were used to creating linear narratives for television: how do you emulate a TV or film approach to a story but give the player some control over it at the same time? The writers were trained to understand that you can never be entirely sure what the person in charge of the controls is going to do, and that you therefore need to write for all the different possibilities.

With a television show, it’s usually the case that the characters know more than the viewer or vice-versa; but with a video game, you somehow need to marry these two together so the player knows just as much as the protagonist. Scenes therefore had to be constructed in a way where information is uncovered in a careful fashion and too much isn’t revealed at once. You should never be able to solve a case before the game has given you, Cassandra and Nate all of the necessary pieces to do so.

Using the clues gathered and linked together on your mind-map board, you’re asked to answer questions about the who, what, why, where, when and how at the end of each scene. You can submit your evidence once you’re happy with your conclusions but be warned: you only get three attempts to get it right and missing any links reduces your detective score. I made a guess during the final scene without getting all of the deductions and had my grade decreased as a result.

Based on what was shared by Alae-Carew and McPhillips, it sounds as though there’s going to be an overarching story rather than just individual cases during Murder Mystery Machine. Some will be personal stories, such as how the protagonists progress and build their relationship, while something much larger is teased and will be revealed at the end of the season. The point out that they wanted to add a lot of depth: ‘Nobody is a straight-up criminal, but nobody is a saint either.’

Murder Mystery Machine is already available on Apple Arcade, and PC and console players will be able to get their hands on the game very soon to find out whether they have what it takes to be a detective. Check out Blazing Griffin on Twitter for further announcements.

LudoNarraCon 2021: a round-up

Although lockdown restrictions are easing, we’re still not quite ready for large-scale events. This doesn’t mean we have to miss out on gaming expos though: after The Big Adventure Event in January, the end of April saw LudoNarraCon take over.

Organised by indie label Fellow Traveller, the first event took place in May 2019. Since then it has become popular with fans of the adventure genre thanks to its focus on narrative and innovative video games – along with the fact that it’s free and hosted entirely on Steam. That means you can forget about lengthy queues, deafening noise and sweaty bodies; simply sit back, download demos to experience titles for yourself, and check out the developers during live streams.

The event scheduled for 23-26 April 2021 seemed smaller, although that wasn’t the case: looking back through emails from previous years revealed that about the same number of games were on show. I think this was due to many of the games having appeared at other digital expos because there have been so many of them over the past 12 months. However, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t able to find a few gems and a couple more titles have now been added to my wishlist.

Murder Mystery Machine, video game, office, secretary, detectives, sofa, Cassandra, Nate

I’ve had my eye on Murder Mystery Machine by Blazing Griffin since coming across the trailer in December 2019. It’s now due for release on PC and console very soon and, after playing the demo for myself, I can’t wait. It’s no secret how much I like detective games and I really enjoyed the way this title gave you an investigation board so you could link together the evidence uncovered for yourself. Although there are hints, there’s no real handholding and it gives the impression of being a real investigator.

Song of Farca, video game, LudoNarraCon, livestream, developer

Speaking of detective games, another one on my watch-list was Song of Farca by Wooden Monkeys. I wanted to try this during a previous Steam Game Festival but unfortunately ran out of time so it was one of my priorities for LudoNarraCon – and I wasn’t disappointed. It has more of a visual novel style than the previous demo but there’s still plenty of investigation for you to do. All of this takes place online via internet searches, hacking into CCTV cameras, digital enhancement and telephone calls.

Next up was something completely different: NUTS by Joon, Pol, Muutsch, Char & Torfi. I wasn’t sure about its visual style at first but reading about its premise made me curious, and it was added to my wishlist immediately after completing the demo. The aim is to place cameras around a forest to track where squirrels are hiding their stash but you might be surprised to find out what exactly it is that they’re hording. I have a feeling this title is going to end up being wonderfully weird.

Last, video game, street, trees woman, post, van

Lake by Gamious was a title I was already aware of thanks to it appearing in my Steam discovery queue recently. I wasn’t sure it was going to be something that would usually appeal to me but there’s something about the narration of the trailer, and the way it makes the game feel as though it’s an American television show, that made me want to give the demo a go. Delivering the post to residents around Providence Oaks and getting to know them better turned out to be a rather relaxing experience.

LudoNarraCon

There were a range of interesting live streams alongside the demos and discounts this year. Sam Barlow joined Natalie Watson to discuss Her Story and Telling Lies, along with upcoming release Project Ambrosio; and Jack Attridge chatted about how Flavourworks is innovating new storytelling technologies and design philosophies, starting with debut ERICA. We’ve been playing a lot of full-motion video (FMV) games recently so these were both talks I was glued to.

Other demos I managed to play were Do Not Buy This Game by Kingblade Games, No Longer Home by Humble Grove and Beacon Pines by Hiding Spot. And although the Forgotten Fields demo from Frostwood Interactive failed to work properly for me during The Big Adventure Event, I’ve now received a review key and will be writing about it soon. Each of these titles is completely different and that’s the great thing about LudoNarraCon: it shows that narrative-focused released are incredibly varied and there’s something for everyone.

LudoNarraCon is due to return once again in 2022 and you can follow Fellow Traveller on Twitter to stay informed. In the meantime, check out the gallery below to see some of the other games that were on display and keep an eye out for further posts over the coming week.

LudoNarraCon 2021 photo gallery

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Online gaming expos: digitally drained

The annual gaming expos are some of my favourite events of the year, so I’m sad that many have been cancelled for 2020. The horrible threat of COVID-19 means it’s safer not to attend large public gatherings in indoor spaces right now and instead play video games at home.

Some organisers aren’t letting it beat them though. Instead of hosting physical events, they’re turning their expos digital and going online. The Summer Game Fest will keep us going through this month and all the way to the end of August; The Escapist Indie Showcase took place for four days last week; and both the PC Gaming Show and Guerilla Collective kicked off on 13 June 2020. No doubt we’ll hear news of even more events taking place throughout July as organisers follow the online trend.

LudoNarraCon, panel, stream, Peter Ewing, Cassandra Kwan, Strix

The first digital expo I ever attended myself was LudoNarraCon when it started in 2019, and I really enjoyed it. A talk about Night Call by its developer had me instantly intrigued about the game. I had the pleasure of trying several demos for upcoming titles I’d had my eye on for a while, including NeoCab and In Other Waters. And the online panels were interesting to watch, especially one where the discussion focused on how interactivity makes video games a special medium which can pass on emotions to another person like no other.

As I concluded in my round-up post: “It’s always going to be difficult to capture that ‘buzz’ experienced at real-world expos in an all-digital convention, because there’s something about being among a crowd of people with the same interests and who are just as excited as you. But LudoNarraCon did an awesome job; as well as allowing ‘quieter’ narrative games take centre stage, it’s the perfect way of making conventions accessible to everybody. Hopefully it will return next year and we’ll get to do it all over again.”

And it did return this year – along with a whole host of other online events thanks to the COVID-19 lockdown. I’m already aware of seven digital expos taking place this month alone and there are probably more I don’t even know about. Am I excited about attending them though? Not really. Perhaps it’s an indication of what my state of mind is like after spending almost 80 days at home (at the time of writing), but right now I just can’t face yet another thing that takes place online.

I get that it’s a necessity in the world we’re living in today. Here in the UK, mass gatherings have been banned since March and there’s no news yet on when they’re going to be allowed to start up again. Gaming expos therefore have no choice but to move to the digital land if they want to take place this summer. Let’s face it: heading to an event with thousands of other people is a sure way to catch coronavirus, whereas socialising from in front of your laptop screen is much less germy. At least for some of us anyway.

LudoNarraCon, In Other Waters

Online events are a positive thing for indie developers too. They enable them to exhibit their projects and reach a wide group of potential players without having to arrange and fund travel and accommodation, which can be expensive and make real-world expos inaccessible for some smaller teams. Organisers no longer have to find and book venues big enough for the number of attendees, make sure there suitable catering outlets and enough of them (I’m looking at you, EGX Rezzed) and do a mass clean-up afterwards.

And as for players, we get to attend a gaming event from the comfort of our own home. This is a real benefit for anyone who enjoys narrative games like I do. As I wrote after EGX Rezzed back in 2018, expos and conventions aren’t always the ideal place to showcase such titles as the constant noise and crowds can make it difficult to concentrate on the world the developer is trying to make. For example, I first tried In Other Waters there a few years ago; but it wasn’t until I played the demo at home during LudoNarraCon that I really understood it.

So why am I not looking forward to any of the events coming up over the next month? It’s all down to online fatigue. I’m tired of having to live all aspects of my life – work, family, socialising and entertainment – in front of a screen and I miss the real world. This is why I’m finding a lot of enjoyment in hobbies such as bread-making and cross-stitching right now, and why I’m highly likely to break down when my employer schedules yet another conference call with a ‘fun’ theme. (Note to my boss: they really aren’t fun.)

Although I understand that digital expos have a lot of benefits for organisers, developers and players, I’ve missed this year’s annual gaming events. Nothing can capture that feeling of being in a huge hall surrounded by so many video games you’re eager to try, along with thousands of other likeminded gamers who are all feeling the same excitement. I’ve missed catching up with the indie teams and finding out how their projects are going, sneaking other bloggers into developer sessions, and coming home with at least one title added to my wishlist.

It makes me wonder what’s going to happen next year. And I’m not talking about COVID-19 here; I’m referring to whether organisers will take the decision to move their events completely online going forward. Maybe I’m being far too cynical but being able to wrap up cost-savings in a reason of being more accessible and environmentally-friendly sounds like a great business opportunity. Many professional gaming websites have jumped on the bandwagon by hosting ‘digital showcases of the most exciting games’, too.

Although it makes sense, I’ll be sad if this is the case. The annual gaming expos are some of the highlights of my calendar and I’ve missed their buzz this summer. For me, nothing will be able to replace them – not even another themed conference call.

LudoNarraCon 2020: Ring of Fire

What’s this: another detective game? After making pledges to the crowdfunding campaigns for two upcoming titles last month and then being interested by another during an online event a couple of weeks ago, a further entry in the genre has been added to my wishlist.

First, I became a Kickstarter backer for pixelated point-and-click Chinatown Detective Agency by General Interactive Co. and cyberpunk RPG Gamdec by Anshar Studios on the same day in April. Then I watched a live broadcast by Mi’pu’mi Games about the recent release of their mystery adventure The Flower Collectors during LudoNarraCon. And now, after having the opportunity to play a demo for Ring of Fire during the expo, I’m looking forward to hitting the streets of New London for a gritty detective thriller.

Far Few Giants’ project caught my eye for several reasons. It’s obvious that I really enjoy games of this type, but there was something about this one which made it feel far more serious than some of the others I’ve come across. When I started up the demo and saw a message advising that it would require real detective work and was meant to be played with pen-and-paper because not all clues were obvious or would be repeated, I knew this would be exactly the sort of thing which deserved a spot on my wishlist.

The game kicks off as you and your new partner Nacir head towards a bloody crime scene. It’s clear that you aren’t exactly enthralled by his presence and would rather be anywhere than in a car with him. Searching for the case number in the database reveals the address you need to get to and entering this in your SatNav takes you straight there. You can see Senior Detective Grosvenor’s thoughts on-screen and wonder what on earth is going to happen when you find out you’re ‘hellbound for the shitshow that ended her career’.

There were two things that struck me about Ring of Fire immediately. First was that Nacir was wearing a deer mask; as I progressed through the demo, I discovered that it was normal for people to don these in 2062 and most individuals had a legitimate alter-ego. It wasn’t made entirely clear how this element fits into the storyline but it gave the impression that everyone leads double lives. The fact that Grosvenor refuses to conform and wear a mask makes her seem like even more of a stubborn badass.

Next was the art-style: who knew that walking into a murder scene would be so visually pleasing? The game has a very modern look that’s almost like a retro version of the future, and blood spilled over the carpet of a South London apartment in attractive swirls. The lack of detail in objects and faces just adds to the impression that everybody is hiding a secret under a shiny façade and it had the effect of making me concentrate more fully on what the characters were saying, as I really wanted to figure them out.

LudoNarraCon, live broadcast, video game, Ring of Fire

A search around the rooms and a chat with a witness here gives a little insight into what has happened. Youth worker Zhenrong Lo (Zen) has been brutally murdered: a weird code is lasered across his chest, a certain appendage is nowhere to be found (ahem) and a wedding ring has been shoved onto his finger posthumously. A tablet left in the living room reveals some incriminating content about his life-style and a sunflower placed centrally within the blood on the floor is a clear sign of staging.

Using the information gathered, I was able to perform a search on the police database and make my way to a bar the victim had visited. A scan of the security footage didn’t find him however – maybe because he was wearing an unregistered mask for an alter-ego that nobody knew anything about. The witness at the apartment had mentioned Zen’s elusive wife so my next step was to try her. Perhaps I didn’t push her hard enough though, because I didn’t get much out of her other than tears.

It was at this point that I became stuck briefly. It felt as though I’d followed up on all the current leads but I must have missed something. Sure enough, going through the rooms again and re-checking the database gave me an address for Zen’s business partner, but a talk with him just made the situation even more mysterious. Why had his old school friend never met his wife? And why did his business partner say he had never met this friend, when apparently they’d all gone to college together?

The demo ended back in the victim’s apartment where I came across a clipping from a local news site which feature a photograph of him with a dozen children. One of them looked very familiar to a face on the tablet we’d found earlier, so if Zen didn’t have any kids then why did those holiday shots exist? As Grosvenor surmised that things weren’t getting any clearer and further questions came to my mind, a message from the developer appeared on screen to thank me for playing their prototype. Hopefully one day soon I’ll manage to catch the murderer.

Despite its stylised visuals, this project has such a gritty quality and I get the impression that whatever we find in the full release isn’t going to be happy. That’s not to say I’m not eager to play it however; having to keep a pen and paper close by to record clues was a nice touch and added to the pressure of the situation depicted in the game. The Steam page advises the case must be solved by text entry meaning that players won’t be able to brute force the puzzle, so I’m looking forward to pitting my wits against the Ring of Fire Killer.

It’s worth noting that Ring of Fire contains some dark subject matter including profanity and descriptions of extreme violence. But if you’re interested in finding out more, head over to the official website and give Far Few Giants a follow on Twitter.