I’m currently playing Shardlight, another WadjetEye adventure game. It’s set in the near future, after society has been devastated by the dropping of bombs (possibly nuclear, but I think plague bombs). The survivors have set up a class system, with the Aristocracy (who all dress like they’re in the revolutionary war) running things in relative comfort, while the rest are left to scavenge and make do in typical post-apocalyptic wear.
The game follows Amy Wellard, a mechanic in her 20s who has just noticed the first symptoms of the terminal Green Lung disease. The only medicine for Green Lung is controlled by the Aristocracy and given out freely to the rich, but to the poor only through a lottery, the tickets for which are obtained by doing dangerous public service jobs. You join Amy as she does her first lottery job and gets tangled up in a web of intrigue.
The game feels a lot like Fallout, but with more emotional maturity. Amy is a lovely character to spend time with. Quiet, thoughtful and kind, a victim of circumstance that only wants to the best for people. There’s a nice supporting cast of characters sketched around her, although the repetition of distinctive WadjetEye voice actors is a little distracting (the lead VA from TechnoBabylon pops up a few times for instance and is hard to take in different roles - it’d be like a random guy in Full Throttle sounding exactly like Guybrush Threepwood).
The puzzles are solid, with some nice ideas. Nothing overly taxing. The graphics are the typical lo-fi pixel art, with really nice talking head portraits, but it’s the music that really stands out for me.
I think what works best with Shardlight though is that it feels really relevant to today, moreso right now than perhaps when it was released last year (and made in 2015). I’m rarely unsettled by post-apocalyptic scenarios but there’s a constant twinge brought on by the world of Shardlight and its plausibility.