Ever heard of the saying that “less is more?” Well that may in fact be the case with the roguelike puzzle game Road Not Taken, which is developed by Spryfox that is set to arrive on Steam (PC & Mac), PS Vita and PlayStation 4 later this year.
I had a chance to go hands on with the game last week and I came away impressed not only with its gameplay mechanics, but also with its charming design.
The game has you playing as a nameless ranger, whose look seems like a cross between the main character in Journey and Link from the original Legend of Zelda. As this ranger, you are sent to a forest to rescue a handful of children who are lost, as you try to reunite them with their parents. However, there are no weapons to speak of, as you can only pick up objects and throw them. The other thing to keep in mind, going back to the “less is more” saying, is that you have to try and complete your objectives in as little moves as possible. See, every time you pick up an objects, such as a child, you lose energy, and when your energy depletes, your dead. What’s more, is that you’ll also need to pick up objects, such as trees or rocks to move them out of your way, or to combine them in order to open up a passage.
What makes things even more difficult, is that when you pick something up, be it an object or a child, you can only throw them in one direction, depending what side you’re on. As such, when you carry them, you can’t always move in every direction, since you can only move one box at a time. So you’ll need to be careful, as you’ll sometimes just have to throw things in any given direction in order to continue moving, but they can also get you stuck. Enemies move around when you move around, so you’ll have to be strategic with your movements.
Additionally, the game makes some really cool use of crafting, as you can combine items to make something new, such as the unforeseen circumstance of combining a bunny with a red ghost…try it for yourselves when the game is out. At times, crafting can work to your advantage, when you say, create something that causes enemies to be afraid of you. There are tons of combinations to use, and half of the fun will be just discovering them as you go along. What’s cool too, is that the game never plays the same, as sessions are randomized.
The game also goes through a 15-year timeline, as your character gets old over time, and he can get married and have other friendly (or not) relationships with NPCs. Meeting a few of these NPCs, it was funny to see how they all have different personalities and it made it interesting to go and meet as many as possible.
Set to be released this summer, Road Not Taken looks like a unique little game that has plenty of surprises in store for gamers, and I anxiously await to get my hands on the final version to see where the road takes me.