Developer: Chaosmonger Studio
Released: In Development
Price: Free Demo
Platforms: PC, Linux, Mac
Encodya is a beautiful game created by Chaosmonger Studios which is, in fact, a film company. This is the group’s first foray into video games, thanks to their Kickstarter stretch goals. I was fortunate to discover the game while browsing itch.io and stumbled across their page. The game is free to download, but you can kick in a donation like me if you’re a big point-and-click fan.
Created in Unity, the game has a fantastic art style. It’s a futuristic cyberpunk dystopian where Tina, a young orphan, is cared for by a robot named S.A.M. 53. Surviving on foods scraps and the goodwill of others, the player begins with Tina and Sam at a bus station. They need money to make it home, but of course, they have none. Here, the puzzles begin!
The UI and controls are extremely easy to use, especially for anyone who has adventure game experience. My only complaint is in moving from one area to another. The cursor must be nearly on the edge of the screen, and I often found myself clicking out of the game by accident. Moving on, the voice acting is top-notch. The writing is good, but it may be slightly noticeable that the dialogue was written by a non-native English speaker. It’s not terribly distracting, and I only noticed it maybe once or twice in the demo. The world is immersive and believable, but there’s still a lot of work left for the developers to do.
Initially, the game broke the fourth dimension a little too much for my tastes. Dialogue from both the playable character and NPCs reference the development and developers for why things are the way they are. Remarking on this occasionally was fun and good-natured but doing it constantly made it seem like the team wasn’t able to justify, or flesh out, the world they had put these characters in. Then, I realized that the game is still in development and found this to be a clever way to tell players that missed the Kickstarter. It’s also good for those of us that didn’t read the itch.io page and were clearly too excited to jump in and try the game. Check out a short video of gameplay below to see what I mean.
There’s little to no information on what the story is for Tina and S.A.M. other than them trying to survive this all too possible Bladerunner-esque world. There are multiple artistic pieces alluding to how life was before all the technology, but there’s nothing definite so far.
I’m delighted to have found this gem on itch recently and am anxious for the team to continue development! I wish I had been aware of the Kickstarter while it was going on, but it’s pretty neat to be able to play the demo for free. Oh, and there’s a fun secret you can find in the game that makes it look like the above screenshot. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I strongly recommend it! If you’ve played it, please do share your thoughts in the comments or our Discord.