Indie Game Radar: The Maker’s Eden

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A few days ago looking through Steam’s discovery que successfully drew my attention to another almost completely unknown game that happened to have a demo. It’s almost become an event these days when a game even has a demo (no including alphas for Kickstarter projects).

A 20-minute run through the demo for The Maker’s Eden has me convinced it manages a really interesting look for an adventure game if nothing else. This is coming from someone who basically never plays adventure games. I guess one of the best things I can say is a lot of them almost put me to sleep, but what I played of this one didn’t.

Looking at the screenshots, I expected Maker’s Eden to be some kind of choose-your-own adventure comic book thing with completely static graphics. I was basically anticipating a comic book that somehow got published on Steam — the kind of thing some people complain “isn’t a game.” A lot of visual novels are on Steam these days after all. The initial shock of what this game actually is was enough to keep me interested through the other elements which seem decently made.

If you’ve seen the PSP Metal Gear Solid motion comics, Maker’s Eden is basically an entire adventure game made in that style. It has the same pseudo-3D look where each scene is made of 2D layers put on top of each other to deliberately look like comic book pages assembled like dioramas. The ability to freely look around each scene with the mouse immediately gives it depth. I don’t know if other adventure games tried this before, but if they haven’t I have no idea why.

The demo gives you very little to go on for the story and setting, both visually and from the dialogue. The art style and bits of story reveal some kind of near-future urban noir setting with robots as a central element. The motion comic graphics and cold color palette really add to the feel. The music is nothing I haven’t heard in basically every noir thing I’ve seen, but I haven’t consumed a massive amount of noir media. This opening episode suggests the story of an amnesiac robot running from the police, possibly to avoid decommission — not an unheard of scenario. It sets up a functional mystery but I hope it eventually develops into something more.

Maker’s Eden isn’t a visual novel though, there are puzzles, and in my opinion the few in the demo are pretty clever. The first one requires special attention to the dialogue and environment and suggests a game based on logic puzzles. Screenshots suggest more intense puzzles later on in the full game that look more like well, actual puzzles.

This is supposed to be an episodic game in three acts, but this first act actually came out last summer and from what I can tell the developer hasn’t released anything sense. There are also supposed to be mini-episodes between the release of each act to fill out the world beyond the main story.

BULLETS:

  • I for one thought some of the stuff in SkyMall looked pretty useful. http://t.co/hK4ZWL0Vxt
  • Star Wars: Rogue Squadron coming to GOG is a complete surprise to me. Now I’m hoping Episode One Racer is next. http://t.co/YKRCgQWOIX
  • At the same time, someone seems to have made some kind of breakthrough in Rogue Squadron II Gamecube emulation, adding high-resolution textures.
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