BENGALURU : It has become a weekly ritual to praise PUBG in the column, but today is a little different. I understood that PUBG isn’t sufficiently intellectually challenging when I got three winner-chicken-dinners (kidding, just made top 10) on the mobile, while streaming a movie on the side. So, I promptly turned to indie games. Readers, here is a pro tip: you always learn something new in a point-and-click detective adventure. It’s the easiest way to learn interesting facts (which are also a great conversation interrupter). It also makes you feel very intelligent because it’s almost as if you’re figuring out the case all by yourself.
But in ‘Lamplight City’ — it doesn’t really matter if you don’t solve the mystery. I found myself spending an uninterrupted hour investigating the case of the strange flower-thief, and ended up being quite immersed in the plot that thickened as fast as soup. There were suddenly layers of complexity involving the very tasteful anachronistic features of the game’s ‘Steampunk’ version of the 19th century.
The game is much like playing out a story book — the characters are very detailed. We play as Miles Fordham, a detective with a boss that feeds him with boring cases that suddenly turn dark (the artwork and music are strongly suggestive of impending tragedy — but it could still surprise you).
The game starts in the year 1844, and constantly references the evolving tech at the time — the shift from horses to cars, ‘black magic’ (which is actually experimental medicine), and those weird huge balloon aircrafts. There are a lot of subtleties in the gameplay, wherein you’re fed really cool facts without being bored out of your seat.
I was genuinely fascinated when I learnt that tetrotodoxin was a poison from the pufferfish (but it’s a boring sentence when you read it in this column). The developer — Grundislav games’ games are a refreshing hit — like that random dress you buy at a long-forgotten fair which you surprise yourself by repeatedly wearing. If you want a fleshed out mystery story with a pinch of creepies wait for the full game when it releases later this year.