Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire only adds to the noise

According to its Kickstarter campaign, the first seed of what would become Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire was the game’s emblematic image: a woman in blue looks down at her red, burning city. There’s a paucity of details that add to the drama; the mountains are uniformly dark, while the desert is boundless and bare. Both are supported by the game’s plain, unsophisticated aesthetic, charmingly complete with rotoscope animation. All of the above combine to create an interesting drama out of drabness: two splashes of color set against a dun disaster. But this image represents the whole of Tahira…

Beautiful Desolation

Stare wildly at the mutated giraffes of a game set in far-future Africa

“Set in a distant future in an evocative African landscape … he is not from this place or time …” states the tantalizing blurb on Beautiful Desolation‘s website. Those are the only hints regarding the narrative of the next adventure game from The Brotherhood, the team behind bleak sci-fi horror adventure Stasis (2015) and its upcoming side story Cayne. Implications of dimensional and time travel aside, it’s the isometric landscape of distant future Africa that intrigues the most. It’s a world years in the making, first conceived before and then developed during the creation of Stasis. heads bulging with lumps…

Investigations no truce

How No Truce With The Furies is pushing videogame writing further

No Truce With The Furies, in addition to being an oil painting come to life, is a game with a very high standard for writing. Developer Fortress Occident boasts a published science-fiction author in its writing team, and the game cites as inspirations text-heavy Infinity Engine games like Planescape: Torment (1999) and the original Fallout (1997). The detail an isometric perspective allows means the studio is able to go significantly more in depth than other games, but the conventions of the medium—long paragraphs of dialogue, often clicking through multiple choices with one character, and passages of narrative removed from gameplay—can be…

Investigations no truce

No Truce With The Furies is the isometric RPG to look out for

A revolution-wrecked port city. An enthusiastic policeman out of his depth. “Neither fantasy, history, nor any kind of -punk.” Helmed by a “chronically success-impaired” science-fiction writer and describing itself as a combination of Planescape: Torment (1999), Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, and Kentucky Route Zero (2013), it’s a game about “being a total failure.” The first question on the developer’s FAQ is, “Is this a joke?” “No, it’s not,” says Estonian developer Fortress Occident. “It’s a real game. We’re making it.” And for the debut project of a studio that’s only been around since October, No Truce With The Furies…


Adam brings an unusual perspective to bleak black-and-white horror

It’s rare to see an isometric horror game. The 3/4 perspective affords more visibility than what is conducive to most horror scenarios, where the possibility of things lurking in the darkness or just around the bend helps heightens the tension. But in Adam, at least what’s shown in its only available trailer, ceilings are cutaway to reveal the contents of other rooms, like an old RPG or adventure game. A halo of light illuminates the titular character, emphasizing the darkness around him, but we can still see. In place of the mystery another perspective might offer, Adam must find its…


Eitr’s trailer recalls the pitch-black world of Diablo II

The Gothic masterpiece that was Diablo II, the one that I willingly gave away much of my youth to, was perhaps most notable because of its atmosphere. It was a shadowy world, brown lands fading into a black background, full of occult sacrifices, lo-fi gore and legions of grotesque demons. Horror looks better pixelated.  For its sequel, the game’s developers ditched much of this darkness, going instead for very clean and detailed visuals more reminiscent of their megahit online game World of Warcraft; pop-art levels of brightness with slick lines and eye-popping effects all visible through a generous field-of-view. The…