Eleven Years. Eleven Years ago I was playing Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 on arcade cabinet deep within the recesses of the USF student union. Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 was largely to blame for me failing out of college that semester (that extreme laziness). Why on earth did they have to put that game so damn close to my stupid Urban Geography class?
The idea of being out in space is inherently both beautiful and terrifying. In many tales set in this environment, the curiosity that drives exploration often turns into complex situations fought with suspense and uncertainty.
Creators Kazuya Asano and Takemaru Abiko capture this essence in the newly released The Starship Damrey, available in the Nintendo eShop, published by LEVEL-5. LEVEL-5 is already well known to gamer’s familiar with the company’s flagship series, Professor Layton, which gives you some clue that this will be no ordinary adventure.
It is difficult to describe The Starship Damrey without spoilers, because the very first thing you learn is that “This game contains no tutorials or explanations. Part of the experience is to discover things yourself.” It requires something of a mental shift for a traditional gamer, for the fascination with this game not only sits within the gameplay itself, but within the act of discovery.
The game opens with you aboard the Starship Damrey, as you awaken to find yourself trapped within a deep sleep capsule. The game is designed in such a way that both you, the player, and you, the character, have no idea how you got there, or what is going on. The primary supporting character is a ship AI, whose cold and calculated responses to events aboard the ship are as unsettling as the environment itself.
After playing through the game, my only wish is that it was longer. I would guess this is a limitation of the nature of downloadable titles. The more I explored the game, the more I found myself wanting to learn more about the ship and her crew.
While this game requires some wit and a keen eye, I would consider this more of a interactive narrative experience. It’s this departure from the norm, that makes this experience stand apart from mainstream games. I’m a sucker for a good narrative experience, and I was not disappointed with The Starship Damrey. Without saying too much, the experience doesn’t exactly end after the credits roll either. Its quite clever.
The Starship Damrey, from LEVEL-5, is available for the 3DS in the Nintendo eShop for $7.99. Embark on the journey, discover the truth.