Skaramazuzu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Genre: Adventure    

Developer & Publisher: Bleeding Moon Studio/Iphigames              

Released: April 3, 2024               

Requirements: OS: Minimum, Windows 7; Recommended, Windows 10

Processor: Minimum, AMD Ryzen 3 or Intel Core i3; Recommended,

AMD Ryzen 5 or Intel Core i5

Memory: Minimum 4 GB RAM; Recommended, 8 GB RAM

Graphics: Minimum, AMD 460X or Nvidia GTX 960; Recommeded,

Recommended, AMD Radeon RX 480 or Nvidia GTX 970

DirectX: Version 11

Storage: 5 GB available space

*As of January 1, 2024, the Steam Client will only support Windows 10 or above

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By flotsam

Skaramazuzu

Bleeding Moon Studio/Iphigames

This is the story of our titular character Ė Zuzu as Ďheí prefers to be known Ė a lost soul summoned (guided actually) by the mysterious Master to somewhere between being dead and being alive. He is there because he wanted to be, although that seems like news to him. Sent further into the void, if he can activate four Orb Keys and gets to its Ďendí he might find himself, and who knows what else along the way.

Zuzuís world is a 2D black-and-white delight. There is a gothic nature about the pale and even paler construct, the inky blacks all the more prominent as a result. So too there is a rich simplicity in each scene, and a sharp starkness highlighted by the hand drawn line drawings. Visually it reminded me a bit of Birth, and it appealed to me enormously.

The game world is explored by moving left and right through the various screens, and occasionally in other directions. Arrows will appear as you approach to indicate an exit point into a new screen, and elongated exclamation marks will pop up to indicate something to interact with. Your options at those points are talk or interact, and Zuzu likes to talk. Talking to, or to himself about, inanimate objects will tell you more about the nature of Zuzu, so donít dismiss that option.

The puzzling is gentle, some of it being observational with a bit of interpretation thrown in, the bulk being finding and using inventory items and having the appropriate conversations to trigger the way forward. I donít think I ever had more than three inventory items at any one time, and usually only one. You donít examine them or combine them, rather you can just choose to use them through the interact option.

Uncovering information through the conversations will identify your various objectives. These are automatically recorded in your journal, and I gathered a lot more than I completed over the first half of the three hours the game took me, so I appreciated the very organised way they were collated in the journal. A little message and a pencil animation will indicate another objective has been added.

The game is narratively way more involved but in short, the various things you need to get closer to activating the Orbs are in the possession of others, who will give them to you in return for something else. Which might well involve doing one or more things for one or more others, much like a questing RPG. So you will go back and forth, finding things and using them to achieve things in order to open up information or other areas to continue your efforts.

It isnít hard, and I think the only time I wondered what to do next was after having activated an Orb. Without spoiling things, I felt the need to re-explore in order to see what might have changed or who might now know something more. Reasonably quickly I uncovered something which, when plugged back into what I already knew, moved me forward.

The activation of the first Orb took me about half my game playing time. The next three took the same amount of time combined. Some of that is down to the fact that certain elements repeat, and that once you have worked out the answer the first time the mechanics are the same from then on, but its also a product of the fact that you do much more uncovering rather than solving in the initial half of the game.

Apart from that sameness, my only other grumblement was that the game will tell you at the start that it autosaves so donít do anything when the particular symbol appears. What it wonít tell you is that exiting to the main menu also saves the game. I spent the first 90 minutes waiting for the save symbol to appear, not realising I could exit long before I wanted to. Which I appreciated once I worked it out, but which happened completely by accident.

There is no spoken word, or rather there is but you canít understand it. Gibberish is the stock in trade, and it is really well done. While subtitles will tell you what is being said, everything about the Ďvoicesí is a treat. The mood, the tone, the emotion, even the nature of the character all come through in the strange noises. Zuzu stands out, a sing-song cadence just adding to the reasons why you canít but help like him. Listen to him say awwww and tell me you donít agree.

Zuzu moves and interacts with the game world courtesy of the keyboard or a gamepad (you can put away your mouse). Much of each screen is static, but there is sufficient movement going on to bring each one to life. Not too much though, which is in keeping with the nature of where this place is. A (mostly) ethereal underlying soundtrack and the ambient sound further enhance the overall mood.

I played it straight through and enjoyed it a lot.

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

 

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