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  1. RaginRamen

    Quench - Papercraft Pilgrimage

    Game: Quench Publisher: Axon Interactive Price: $19.99/£15.49 Release Date: 7th August 2019 Genre: Puzzle, Adventure, Story Rich When it's been a long day at work and I just want to relax, I just want to do one thing, listen to some good music and drift away into another world. This can be done with a good book, movie or occasionally an FPS if I'm in a bad mood. There are, however, times when a puzzle game is just the ticket. Quench was that game for me this month, its beautiful soundtrack and art took me away and the puzzles kept my attention and challenged me as I journeyed through on this virtual pilgrimage. I've yet to witness the ending at the time of writing this review, but the narrative is very poetically written. A story of a variety of animal herds migrating from polluted and drylands to reach greener fields. The word pilgrimage is used very often and it has that spiritual essence to the dialogue and the narration. To help them on this pilgrimage is you. The fruit of the elder tree brought forth you as a spiritual bird to guide the 6 herds of the kingdom. It really makes you feel involved, you end up caring for these animals and grow an attachment to the leaders. Their safety is your main concern. We all know that in real life animals migrate year-round and that often pollution and blocked rivers are dangers to them. This story pushes the envelope in getting you to empathise more, getting the animals from news headlines to a bird's eye view of the struggles you will save them from. This game was made with a message, but that didn't stop the developers from forgetting that it's still a game and needs to be fun. I am truly delighted with this. Too many games have focused too hard on story and art, only to forget they are making a game. Being a puzzle game, I will focus on that aspect. There are 4 different powers you can use in different situations. To clear paths, block enemies and support your herds. Each power is surprisingly versatile in what it can do and they are introduced one by one to learn them all effectively. Quench doesn't hold your hand with the tutorials or ever give hints as to what to do to solve puzzles, but they don't leave you guessing either. I'd say that is a well-designed game, wouldn't you? As mentioned when I was talking about the story, the game is very good at building empathy. When clearing the path for your herd, it switches to a lemmings style mechanic where they will blindly trust you and keep moving (so you better have done a good job removing obstacles). Unlike lemmings, these are your children, your babies, you care for them and if even just one dies?... well I've restarted many times to rectify that. Not many games are good at generating empathy... sympathy maybe, but not empathy. Matching the sweeping poetry of the writing and story is a lovely soundtrack and a beautiful art style I've not seen often. It's almost like pixels, but it's not. Opting for shaded triangles instead of squares gives it a unique look. Most of the game takes place overhead, seeing as you are a spiritual bird, that makes sense. When it is time to dive into the narrative, it takes a cinematic approach with very little animation. To me it resembles a tapestry, a story told from one painted scene to another with colours to match the tones of earth and nature. Although no voice-overs were recorded for this game, they had done a wonderful job of creating motifs to accompany each different character, bringing personality and voice to them without actors. Papercraft! That's the word I was looking for to describe the art, gorgeous is another word. After experiencing the story and thoroughly enjoying the puzzles, I have to wholeheartedly recommend this game. The story is truly as beautiful as the music and art. Not just beautiful but subtle and I love that about it. If you enjoy relaxing with a puzzle that isn't easy, but it's just hard enough to satisfyingly complete, then throw away that Sudoku and get started on this pilgrimage.
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