By Nathaniel Liles
I absolutely love it when a developer makes a game demo public and free to people on Kickstarter. It’s the best way for a person to make sure that they know what they’re getting into, and it’s the perfect way for developers to show off what they’ve done so far. It shows backers that you’ve put some work in, and proves that you’re ready for the next step. Today, I took a look at an upcoming visual novel called Exogenesis, with a storyline built around the loss of a loved one and the possibility of getting them back. How was it? Well…
There wasn’t really much of a story to what I expected to be an entirely story-driven demo. I thought I’d meet a few of the characters, talk to some people, and maybe solve a little puzzle or two, but I was surprised when the demo ended and I had only had one conversation. It’s no spoiler when I tell you that your sister dies at the very beginning of the story, and the opening sequence of the demo is just that. You find your sister, held up off the ground by a series of spears that’ve run her through as part of some elaborate trap, and try as you might to save her, she dies. The one piece of artwork in this sequence is very well done and detailed, with the character being minimally animated as the scene plays out. It was a nice effect, and it really sold the moment. After that, we jump into the future, and after a brief conversation about your new job as a post-apocalyptic treasure hunter, you find yourself in a small ruined room.
This room is where I consider the game to have officially begun, honestly, and I was impressed by the quality of the two puzzles. At first, you simply click around the room and find a few items that are fairly easy to find, but you don’t simply find a key, unlock a door, and leave. That’d be boring. (Spoiler alert: if you don’t want to know how to solve the puzzles in the demo, skip the rest of this paragraph.) What you have to do is collect pages from your sister’s journal. Each one helps build up her character while unwittingly telling you a code you’ll need later. See, the pages are different colors, and they’re dated. You can insert them back into the book they were torn from, and your character remarks that the colors are the same as a panel on the wall. I arrange them by date and try the code, no luck. I then notice a flower on the bottom right corner that’s at different stages of bloom on different pages. Genius. I put the pages in order of bloom and there it is – the code.
If all the puzzles in Exogenesis are this well thought-out and implemented, I anticipate its release greatly. I can only complain about the visuals in a sense that many areas were either low-resolution or taken from very blurry drawings. Some things didn’t feel as crisp and clear as they should, but this will probably not be a problem in the full release. Also, developers, if you’re reading this, please… Give me the power to turn off the text beeping. It’s so annoying. Exogenesis is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter for development by Kwan for PC, Mac, and Linux, and if you want to give the demo a try yourself, you can download it right here. You can also support the game on-the-free by voting for it on Steam Greenlight.
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[author image=”http://cliqist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/nathaniel.jpg” ] Nathaniel Liles is a freelance writer, writing major, and indie musician based in Southern Indiana. While procrastinating or avoiding real-world responsibility, Nathaniel enjoys playing rhythm games, action RPGs, and very colorful games with many bright, flashing lights. You can listen to Nathaniel sing songs or download his music for free at http://nathanielliles.bandcamp.com/. [/author]