I am reluctantly back this week, after pulling myself away from both Prey and Fall Guys to dial it back and jump into some games that I had purchased from Itch.io. I am always amazed by the sheer quantity of games that are offered on Itch. It has been a haven for Indie developers that want people to experience their games; for a price tag or not. I’m quite ignorant of other countries folklore’s and I saw that Winterlore was a game that had its roots in Balkan folklore, so I decided to try a point and click adventure for the first time (I think). Next up isn’t necessarily a game but more of a short story visual novel. The Nigh Fisherman is something that I thought was special enough that I would talk about it this week. More visual novel than game but its still a game, sooooo, let’s dive in, I guess.
Winterlore is a game developed and published by Moroi Springs, which is also the name of he universe that Winterlore and the unreleased games are situated in. Released in August of 2019 Winterlore retails for ONE SINGULAR DOLLAR on Itch.io and mobile devices.
It’s about the passing of a loved one and the long trek it takes to heal. The game follows a young woman named Ozana, who is following in her grandmother’s footsteps. As of now there is not much else to go on. Ozana is introduced to two mysterious people, one of which is a woman who knocks at her window and speaks to you in cryptic riddles. For now, Winterlore sets up little and doesn’t explain much outside the explanation of Balkan traditions in everyday life.
The atmosphere is where the game shines more than anything else. The snow is falling and the quiet is peaceful and unnerving. Ozana is the only person present and when the quiet is shattered when an older woman knocks on the window, it’s startling. When exploring the home, Ozana gives a small excerpt about each item and its significance in her world. The excerpts are helpful in adding lore to the universe.
The game looks great because of the hand drawn art. The audio adds a lot the game. The sounds of feet along the snow crunch and the doors creak with a loud screech. It is all very good in adding to the eerie tension inside of an empty home.
Winterlore is only about 25 minutes long.
The Night Fisherman, a game created by De Fault, Chard and published by Far Few Giants. The game, part of a twelve part narrative series, released June of 2020 and retails on PC for the big ‘ol FREE.
You are a smuggler of goods and while on the open water a boat approaches; it is piloted by the most famous immigrant hunter in England. He has a gun and is looking for immigrants, what happens next is all up to the player.
The Night Fisherman, just like Winterlore, is part of a twelve piece narrative experience, so talking about it too much will spoil the narrative. The likeness pertains to length and as a part of a longer story, as The Night Fisherman is text based only.
The player can pan the camera to give the conversation more of a cinematic take but alas it is still muddle because there is no voice for either character. Maybe it was supposed to be silence that could have added to the style of game or atmosphere but it really just doesn’t do anything for me wildly clicking through text boxes. It’s boring.
The colors are great with the sun setting and purple hues paint the sky. The sound of water hitting the boats, men smoking and drinking add greatly to the atmosphere, even though if you closely no one man is holding a beer or actually handling a smoke, which is off putting.
The Night Fisherman is also a super short game lasting about 10-15 minutes, so you will not get mad if you think it is not worth your time because there is most certainly not enough time to become invested with it.
My takeaway from both games is that when I went into each game thinking that I would enjoy shorter, more narrative-driven games… I was wrong. I don’t like either of these games. I did in fact enjoy Winterlore more than the latter but only by a small amount.
I just like being able to be invested in games and that in return allows me to be more open in the way that I talk about them.
The games are practically free, I’m just bitching.