So it came to my attention recently that 190+ prototypes were posted to the Make Games South Africa forums since January this year. There is a lot of quality amongst this number, so I thought sharing an interesting or fun prototype a week would be a cool experiment. As it’s a prototype I will be cynical and critical as often as possible, as this feedback is more valuable to the developers than a “cool game OMG I WANT IT SO BAD RIGHT NOW!” If you have feedback, post it on the game’s MGSA forum thread; a link is included at the bottom.
So, to start off this weekly trend, here’s The Maker’s Eden – a “sci-fi noir point-and-click adventure presented in a motion-comic style” being developed by Screwy Lightbulb. There is a free to download and play demo, which contains some of the early chapters and about 15-30 minutes of playtime.
The gameplay is in pretty traditional adventure game style, with you solving puzzles to move forward. What enhances the basic gameplay is the incredible art and narrative direction. Each piece of art that appears is beautifully hand-crafted and the joy the motion comic presentation elicits is quite unexpected. The story starts off very promisingly in the demo, with a very mysterious and alluring introduction that grabs you from the get go.
The only major gripe I have with the game currently is a lack of agency in the short dialogue scenes you have with other characters. You’re presented with only one option to click and move the story forward. This is highly frustrating as agency in games is hugely important to making you feel immersed and engaged in a narrative. This agency is often an illusion (think about all the choices you made in The Walking Dead only to have the exact same ending no matter what), but that small sense of choice will go a long way to immerse the player in a character they are role-playing. Let them choose how their character responds, even if it has no mechanical affect (which is the developer’s ideal goal I believe).