I go through cycles where I either am really into sci-fi or really into fantasy. The past few years have definitely been dominated by fantasy realms – Middle-earth, Tyria, Westeros, etc. But between reading The Woods comic series, watching SOMA playthroughs, and the impending release of a new Star Wars movie, I think it’s safe to say I’m entering a sci-fi cycle right now. So when I saw the Kickstarter for Red Cloak Games’ new game, Wanderer, my interest was definitely piqued.
What it is:
- Sci-fi episodic adventure game
- 2D platformer with a stylized pixel art style
- Features a variety of gameplay types
- “pseudo-turn based comabt”
- Made by Red Cloak Games
- Estimated release date of September 2016
Why I like it:
- Gorgeous ‘cinematic’ focus with a ‘low-fi’ art style
- I’m super into existential sci-fi stories right now
- Dialogue and story options reflect on your previous choices
- Varied and interesting characters to interact with
Okay, so before I actually knew it was a sci-fi game, the art style is what really grabbed my attention. As I watched the video and read up on the details, I knew this was a game I wanted to play. Wanderer focuses on a convict named Rook who wakes up from cold sleep, despite being scheduled for the death penalty. Because of this he suffers from memory loss among other issues as he interacts with his fellow convicts. All of this takes place in a future where Earth humans have settled other nearby planets. But Rook and the others from the prison ship, have crashed on a ‘lost planet’.
I won’t linger too much on the art style, instead just take a look at some of the screenshots throughout this article. I love the stylized pixel art style, and Wanderer pulls it off beautifully. There’s also a soft, painterly effect over everything that gives a warm yet ethereal feel to the game. It’s a 2D platformer with a “cinematic” focus, but it also manages to blend in some other gameplay styles in order to tell the episode story in the best ways possible. There’s also puzzles to solve and even some JRPG-style turn-based combat. While as a rule I’m not big into turn-based combat outside of roguelikes and strategy games, the rest of the game looks and sounds intriguing enough for me to give it a go.
Another big selling point for me on Wanderer is the dialogue. I love games that give you different story outcomes based on your actual actions and decisions in the game, rather than just feeding a story based on pre-arranged movements. Games with multiple story path options are increasingly common these days, but it’s always good to see more. It’s basically the best, most sensible version of “choose your own adventure” type books. According to the Kickstarter page, characters remember your interactions and change how they talk to you based on those interactions. On top of that, the character range looks quite diverse. Each one has a unique personality and story. There’s even a dog! In space! Based on the blurbs on the page, I think my favorite character is Basil, a dry-witted gentleman robot who, despite being the ship’s chaplain, has no interest in religion.
Some people aren’t too keen on episodic content, but the great thing about this Kickstarter is that the money is going toward funding all the planned episodes. The $15 backer tier gives you access to all episodes – five in total, being released every few months after the estimated release date of September 2016.
Please help me fuel my sci-fi binge and Kickstart this.