Ok, I will be the first to admit that when it comes to gaming I have very little patience. It’s why I love a good shooter over an MMO and why so many of my Hitman missions go horribly wrong.
That being said narrative games, or games that are more story than action are a bit tedious for me. Usually, I find myself clicking through much of the conversation in RPGs, admittedly often to my own detriment, so why would I invest in a game that is almost all conversation?
Every rule has its exceptions and this weekend I was able to find three! Three narrative-driven games that were so enthralling that I actually kept reading. Whether you are looking to solve a mystery, meet interesting characters, or simply chasing a good story here are three narrative-driven games that you will want to invest some time in.
Monster Prom is all the horror of high school wrapped up in a narrative driven RPG. The art first drew me to the booth, the cast of teenage monsters offers an interesting interpretation of classic monster tropes. It features four-player turn-based co-op and 1-2 hour playthrough which makes it seem more like a digital board game than anything else. Perhaps a compromise to my boardgame loving friends?
The goal is to navigate Monster High school and build relationships with other students in the hopes of asking someone to Monster Prom with you. There are over 400 events in the game, each with multiple possible outcomes which will affect your progress to varying degrees. This encourages replayability and keeps things interesting as there is a multitude of possible combinations of events.
The upbeat soundtrack and colourful sense of humour make this one fun to play, especially with a group. And honestly, its a lot less scary than a real high school.
Monster Prom will be available April 27th for PC and Mac.
A Case of Distrust
Inspired by detective noir fiction, A Case of Distrust is a narrative-driven detective game that puts you in the shoes of a private eye circa 1924. The art distinctive art style drew me. It was familiar, although I couldn’t quite place until I spoke with the game’s creator Ben Wander. His work is influenced by Hollywood icon Saul Bass. The striking contrast of shape and colour combined with engaging transitions leave an impression.
PLUS it’s a detective story, a genre I love. Only the first encounter was available to try at PAX East but it was enthralling enough to leave me wanting more. Ben says his detective fiction that will take you 5-6 hours. The whole package is paired beautifully with a jazzy soundtrack by Mark Wilson that really nails the genre.
I bought my copy right then but you can pick it up on Steam.
If I am being honest at first I was not that into VA-11 HALL-A. The interface drew me, reminding me of back in the day when I used to point and click my way around games like Space Quest.
It is a curious game for a few reasons first is the combination of amusing and melancholy conversation. The second is your role in the game. VA-11 HALL-A seems put you in the shoes of the NPC rather than a hero. You play as Jill, a bartender, and are tasked with mixing drinks for your various patrons. This downtown bar attracts some interesting folks and you need to figure out how to get people to talk to you.
Once a sat down it seemed a little like just another narrative adventure where’d I would do more clicking than caring. Then a curious thing happened, the cyberpunk-inspired narrative game began dropping small but curious tidbits. The last of which was a revelation so jaw-dropping I was all of a sudden 100% invested. Of course, the demo stopped there as if to taunt me.
There is a plot that links this series of interactions, one which can offer up both humorous interactions and tragic ones as you piece together the mystery of your world.
VA-11 HALL-A is available for PC on Steam.
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