Hailing not far from me, and set just as close, this is about 40 minutes of visually attractive interactive storytelling, with more to come.
Lana is a young woman who returns to the place of her childhood to seek answers about the tragic loss of her sister. That place is the Blue Mountains, not far from Sydney in Australia, a place of vistas and rainforests and home to some of the oldest continuous cultures on earth.
According to the Dreamtime stories of the indigenous Gundungurra and Darug people, the omnipotent Rainbow Serpent lives here. To get the answers she seeks Lana will have to venture deep into the dark valleys of the mountains where forces from the beginning of time still hold dominion.
It’s a stylised water-coloured world, one in which you click on coloured elements to progress the story. Each will reveal some narrative information, in bubbles around the edge of the main screen. In most screens, one will trigger a link enabling you to move forward in some way in the game (eg get dressed, go outside). Alternatively, there are sequences where the trigger is within the game world itself, for instance you might click on the relevant image to follow a creature down a path. Or click on one of a number of available directions, to go that way. Its all very straightforward.
At various points throughout the game you will have to make choices, including the use of Divination. Described as combining the use of Tarot Cards and magic, a wrong choice may result in an untimely end, which enables you to restart at that scenario, or simply no result, which lets you just try again. You may though learn something about a particular card or symbol from a wrong choice that will help you at a later point.
I confess this aspect didn’t really do it for me, and about 10 minutes of my 40 minute play through involved restarting a scenario to try another choice. Perhaps though I was too impatient, and missed some of the maker’s intended concentration and investment.
There is no spoken word, but there is a soundtrack and some ambient sound. The visuals though are the thing. The largely static watercolours appealed to me, and according to the makers draw on numerous influences including storybooks, comics, anime, concept art, Japanese sumi-e art, Indigenous art forms and pop art.
Its all point and click, and you exit by clicking the icon top left. Don’t worry that you can’t or haven’t saved; the game will ask you when you come back whether you want to pick up at the last slide. It does end rather suddenly (not counting the bad endings I got about three quarters of the way through) but is to be continued.
I played on:
OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit
Processor: Intel i7-9700K 3.7GHz
RAM: Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR4 32GB
Video card: AMD Radeon RX 580 8192MB