We’re tackling three interactive adventures today – all in very different genres. Industria is a Bioshock-inspired FPS, Almost My Floor a traditional point and click and Tales Of Aravorn: Seasons Of The Wolf is a blend of turn-based tactics and visual novel. All three were recently ported over to consoles – enjoy!
Industria review (PS5)
This is one of those titles that managed to grab us earlier, when we played a demo of its PC version. Now it’s been released for next/current gen consoles, allowing us to jump back into its gripping premise. Bleakmill developed it, while Headup and Thunderful are publishing.
Industria takes place in an alternate timeline, in which the Berlin Wall is about to fall but a retro-futuristic plot line takes you to a secret research facility as Nora, a scientist who’s looking for her colleague Walter after he mysteriously went missing. He was presumably working on their shared Atlas project at the time, and as Nora tries to retrace his steps she finds herself transported to a different place in time and space.
The way that Industria plays out is reminiscent of games like Bioshock and Half-Life, playing out in a mysterious environment that initially raises more questions than answers. There are even parallels in how some of the gameplay is physics-based and how a faceless stranger is trying to help you for parts of the adventure, and even though this lacks the AAA production values of the games that inspired it we bet that fans will enjoy this more ‘indie’ take on the formula.
That indie flavor also comes across in how some of the narrative is delivered, because even though we loved the story we wish that more of it was delivered in-game rather than through notes that you pick up along the way. There’s a good bit of voice acting as well, though it’s not at the same level as what you’d get in a AAA production. The visuals, on the other hand, are very well done. Enemies might not be the most impressive part, but the world design is excellent and really immersed us in the story.
Industria’s a short game and shouldn’t last you more than about a handful of hours to complete. During that time, there’s some (mostly basic) gunplay and a few puzzles, but the emphasis here is firmly on the narrative part of the experience – which is generally how we like our FPS games. At its budget price point, this is an easy recommendation.
Almost My Floor review (PS4)
Developer Potata Company released Almost My Floor last year on Steam, where it received a warm welcome from gamers who played it, resulting in very positive reviews. Now, thanks to Sometimes You, it’s also available on consoles, where it’s much more rare to see a point and click adventure game like this. We played the PlayStation 4 version.
Although Almost My Floor is a point and click adventure game, its story type is one rarely explored within the genre. You play a man named Alex, and for some reason the elevator in your apartment has became a portal to another dimension full of grotesque monsters. Meanwhile, your girlfriend has also gone missing and over the course of the adventure you have to try and make sense of all this – even switching to the perspective of a private detective for a while.
One of the most important aspects of any adventure game is the writing, and Almost My Floor delivers in that regard – a pleasant surprise because we were only familiar with its developer from its platforming games, a genre that’s not traditional high on narrative content. Another surprise was that, although the subject matter is a lot darker, Almost My Floor also manages to channel some of the wit that’s often associated with point and click adventures. There’s an inventory that you use to complete puzzles, and the modern convenience of highlighting each scene’s hot spots – even though the game has a modern graphic novel-like aesthetic, all the elements of a classic point and click adventure are here.
Where the game strays from the genre norms is where it loses some of its shine, as little quick time events feel out of place even though they’re probably a better fit for a gamepad than the mouse and keyboard controls that PC gamers prefer. The console version doesn’t feel like it was rebuilt from the groundup for gamepad controls though, and could have been a bit more streamlined. Small issues that are easy to overlook though, as this is a quality adventure game that we enjoyed a lot.
Tales Of Aravorn: Seasons Of The Wolf review (PS4)
Because this one was released way back in 2014, we certainly weren’t expecting Tales of Aravorn: Seasons of the Wolf to pop up on consoles at this point. This isn’t the first time that publisher Ratalaika has surprised us though, and this blend of turn-based tactical combat RPG and visual novel is now available on all major consoles after the earlier PC release by Winter Wolves.
The main characters in Seasons of the Wolf are sibling elves who find a young wolf – a discovery that sets them off on a fantasy quest with an ever-growing party of travelers that include barbarians and warlocks. It’s pretty usual fantasy stuff, but the problems you run into feel very “real world” in this game. From corruption to crime and social issues, this is a game that you can relate to even if fantasy’s not usually your genre.
The characters you come across will also form relationships – much of which is explored through visual novel-style interactions. These interpersonal relationships can also turn into romantic ones over time, turning an already niche kind of game into even more of a niche. Seasons of the Wolf does more than the average otome game though, with turn-based combat mechanics that have much more depth than you’d think based on the visuals of the game – when the game switches to the map or a combat scenario, it’s very “early 90s PC” in look and feel.
This interplay between visual novel and turn-based RPG also makes this feel like a much larger scale game than just a narrative-driven one, which is good news if you enjoy genre cross-over games. We couldn’t help shake the feeling that we’ve played better turn-based strategy games before though, and for visual novel enthusiasts the PC-centric UI would probably get in the way. Definitely a niche title then.