The players begin by exploring a modular haunted house, hoping to gain abilities and items to increase their chance of survival. Some of the room tiles hold Omens, powerful items and followers that also have a chance at triggering the haunting. The special thing about Betrayal is that there are fifty hauntings to trigger, all with their own characters and mechanics. After about a dozen plays, I haven’t experienced the same game twice.
What really caught my attention was the range of characters and how you get to know them. You are treated as an outsider and it feels like you’re being kept at arms length, but with respect. Then a mechanic is added early in the game that allows you to see what the characters are thinking. This acts as a hints and tips option and gives you cues to move the narrative forward, but more importantly, it gives you an insight into the cast’s personalities and opinions.
Never Alone seems to be step one in a plan to develop ‘World Games’ in collaboration with a variety of cultures. Amidst calls for greater diversity in games seemingly countered by bouts of cultural appropriation, this is a shining example of how to move forward.
‘Solving’ sick sheep with turpentine, ‘fixing’ this nasty death over here and then building up the nerve (and the cards) to take on a vampire or elf queen before settling in to have some tea with the other witches. It’s not a story we often experience in adventure games and it’s highly entertaining.
The gameplay and design work perfectly fine but the story lacks depth and the bad writing leads to its downfall. Nevertheless, Life is Strange promises big things, the story might be let down by its writing but the general plot is engaging and I want to know more.
I laughed and I cried and I fell in love and had my heart broken and saved the world and had my whole understanding of said world turned on its’ head. It’s left me wanting so, so much more and made me wish I’d played the previous games all the way through.
Charming graphics and clever mechanics aside, however, it didn’t engage me for long. The pacing starts out well and then slows progressively, making it less and less rewarding to spend time in your world.
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
I was completely won over. It took me places I didn’t expect, surprised me when I thought I knew what it was all about and gave me a conclusion that I found utterly satisfying, in part because I knew what it was hinting at before I got there, without it being too obvious.