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Set in a dystopian Vancouver populated by anthropomorphic animals and with an art deco aesthetic, this is more interactive novel than I prefer, but which is stylishly and carefully crafted.

The pixel art environment is incredibly detailed and while there is no spoken word (at least not so far), there are grunts and exclamations that work rather well to provide a sense of a conversation going on. A varied and moody soundtrack plus some ambient sound effects round out the aural side of things.

I am about 40 minutes in and have played four characters thus far, each varied in age, background and species. There are some big ideas in the offing, as well as the smaller more personal impact of some of them. I look forward to how they play out.

Your choices seemingly matter; how much I won't know until I play it again, but there are many indications that it is more than just lip service. The Steam page states that "character traits, branching dialogues, and randomized events open up new paths every time the stories are relived" and there is plenty already to indicate that to be the case. The 'branching tree' which keeps track of various choices is the most obvious, but I have already played through the very beginning twice and have created both good and bad feelings with another character, which I expect will impact how things develop later.

Your game screen scrolls left and right as you move your character with the arrow keys, or whatever keys you choose to assign. Ditto to interact with the environment. You can use the mouse to do that if you want but will need to make that change in the settings menu. As you move around, hotspot bubbles will pop up, and you can interact or not as you see fit. To date there is more interacting of no (seeming) consequence (e.g., you might open a cupboard but that is it) but ignore stuff at your possible peril. Relevant icons will indicate what can be done each time (e.g., look, talk, use etc.). As you explore, the conversation bubbles of those NPCs in the environment will also appear. Linger and read or move on as you choose.

As indicated, there is no spoken word, and when engaging in conversations a dialogue panel will overlay the right side of the screen. Choose your various responses with the mouse and scroll back if you want to revisit what has gone before. It is a very talkative game, so the ability to scroll back over what has been said is useful.

According to a bit of Googling, my playtime to date is somewhere around a quarter of the total play time. I suspect though that that will be influenced by how you approach the game. One conversation thus far leaned heavily on what I had or hadn't gleaned from some computer files, so how much you review or pay attention will have an impact, especially as you can move on regardless of your responses. Ditto the things you come across; you can feed the lizard or not and it won't matter (except perhaps to the lizard), scavenge or not early on, and look at stuff or ignore it.

I didn't play the earlier game to which this is a prelude so can't tell you how it fits or not. I can tell you I am keen to move on.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life gives you tomatoes, make Bloody Marys.