In Other Waters
The way that the game uses real life geographically typologies, and wildlife nature sounds to make the world feel alive, as well as how detailed the lifeforms are described.
[Update] The Game has since been released via several platforms. The following is my account of the old demo that was used to promote the kickstarter.
I remember when I was growing up I played a lot of point and click video games. Mostly it was all that was freely available at the time. As the years passed, and I was able to purchase slight better, but no more than entry level hardware, I drifted away from Point and Clicks, and since then, I haven't really played Point and Clicks and their descendants. However, a couple months ago I found In Other Waters and that 20 minute demo absolutely wowed me.
The demo thrusts you immediately into the game, immersing you from the get-go. The story begins to unfold as you wait for the dialogue to complete before beginning to interact with the game. You play as an operator AI built into a suit that is being used by a Xenobiologist looking for one of her squad mates who goes missing on the alien planet.
After a brief typed transmission, the game begins and the protagonist loads you up and begins to speak to you.
The main screen of the game is a compass like instrument that allows you to direct the small yellow dot (the protagonist) to different points of interest on the map.
At first you are only allowed to answer yes/no and point to objects for the main character to arrive at.
As you scan certain land forms, and points of interest their data is presented to you so that you may make decisions for the character.
Eventually you come across life forms, friendly ones are the other yellow dots, and the not so friendly ones are red. The game describes the lifeforms clearly and concisely but still leaves a lot to the imagination.
The game first puzzle quickly becomes apparent. You are unable to progress past a certain point because the lifeforms are emitting a toxic spore that you (the suit) are unable to process. You then spend a few moments moving from point of interest to point of interest as you attempt to figure out what lifeforms you need to analyze to complete the puzzle. You are given access to the analysis tool as well as the to the storage compartments. The game really explains this quite clearly. Once you get pass this puzzle, you continue onto the story of the demo. The demo story is pretty short, and it is choreographed really well. Eventually you find part of your squad mates’ suit and the main plot of the game is revealed. The demo ends. But it certainly was interesting, and something I am looking forward to.
The big deal?
I basically ran through the 20minute demo in the last section and at this point you're probably wondering why I did that. So this game is really interesting. From a design standpoint and from a game play standpoint. I really liked how minimal the game play was, while the story was going full speed ahead. The way that the game uses real life geographically typologies, and wildlife nature sounds to make the world feel alive, as well as how detailed the lifeforms are described.
Looking over this game's kick starter you can see a lot of people really felt quite strongly about this venture. With multiple stretch goals completed, and the team securing well known writers for the project, the game's estimated release date of 2020 can't come soon enough. (provided we all live to that year, you know geopolitics and shit)
While I'm here on the kick starter I'd like to mention that amazing art book they have available for backers, I know that is probably too late to get one for yourself, or myself for that matter. But I do hope that they sell it when the game is released, that art/companion book looks like a real extension of the game and its lore.
The game will also be released with a stand alone album by Paws Menu, and honestly the music and sound design is pretty great.
The game play present in this game is very minimal, and while for some this may be a deal breaker, I quite enjoyed the game's simple interaction. The way the music, UX design, and finely tuned dialogue was presented immersed me in a game I didn't think I would've enjoyed. I am genuinely interested in what the full release of this game will offer.