I recently found out about this game, Hope: The Other Side of the Adventure in a Brazilian page.
In this one, you neither slay dragons nor solve complex puzzles. You’re the kidnapped princess. I think it’s quite an interesting concept. When we play games, we usually have the hero, the anti-hero or the villain (depending on the game’s plot twists). In Hope, our avatar is the victim, something that makes the game pretty unplayable — the reason why its creators refer to it as an interactive experience. In a 6-day period, we wait for our prince to come save us. That’s it. No jumping, no punching, no climbing. You can walk through the tiny room you’re trapped, you can sob and sigh — after hearing a daily monologue by the princess.
I’ve already finished the game, and I must say it was one of the weirdest gaming experiences I have had (keep in mind I haven’t had that many). I felt powerless (and the objective was probably that, anyway…), but I couldn’t feel a lot of empathy for the princess. Her situation is disheartening, but the short length and the development of the game made me feel as if there was something amiss. Within six days we get to know a little of her story, but not enough to actually feel the weight of her burden. I pitied her, but as one would pity the character of an anecdote, not as one who would pity the character of a well developed narrative.
Being lead to act despaired (a button to cry and a button to sigh) was also a bit annoying. The fact that the princess was trapped and unable to change her fate was well-conveyed; but I think the studio choice to go for the tearful reaction was a little too obvious and sort of disapointing. Of course, it offers a new insight into the old-fashioned games’ stories; yet, it doesn’t add to the archetype of the princess (the trope of the sad, helpless damsel-in-distress is just as old as the narrative itself). I believe people react different to imprisonment. Maybe if they randomized the reactions (i.e. one day/one play she sobs, other day/play she breaks the furniture, one day/play she tries to carve a toothbrush into a knife… lol), or if they made different princesses for different ways to deal with the situation, I think the game would look more complex in terms of character development and maybe even more playable.
We only get to know the action-oriented situations the princess experienced by her monologues, so I found it difficult to actually feel close to her, because I don’t know any other character beside her, and, being as bookish as I am, I don’t trust the words of a character about another character. What if the prince was a douche and had his own ulterior reasons to rescue her, huh? ;|
(But maybe that’s just me.)
Otherwise, it was a good gaming experience, and I would recommend it for the aforementioned change of character perspective and for the technical qualities of the game. I’m happy to know there are studios trying to think it in a different way.
I liked the graphics too; its bordeline cute/scary design suits the dark fairytale mood of the game.