“The internet is nothing but a jumble of nonsense, an atrocious mixed metaphor. It’s not meant to be understood.” – A.D. Aliwat
Intruder in Antiquonia is a narrative-driven, point-and-click, mystery adventure set in the internet-shunning titular town. Players take on the role of Sarah who, having lost her memory, must find out who she really is and how and why she came to be in Antiquonia.
Developer: Aruma Studios
Released: 8th July 2022
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
Available on: Steam
This game is being reviewed as part of the Indie Game Collective (IGC) showcase.
Intruder in Antiquonia beings with the protagonist being found on the outskirts of town and being taken to the local hospital. Stricken with amnesia, she has no idea who she is or why she is there. Her ID says ‘Sarah Campillo’ but this is soon found to be fake and there is no record of anyone by that name at the address listed. This prompts her to investigate the town in hopes of discovering her purpose there and recovering her memories. This is made more challenging however since, as a result of an unfortunate past event, the town and most of its citizens reject modern technology and the internet.
The game has an intriguing story that progresses in unexpected ways with a few red herrings for good measure. The narrative ties nicely into the gameplay itself and has good pacing helping to build interest and curiosity in the player. Some of the dialogue feels a little stiff but overall this is a very well-written detective game with thoughtful narrative design and an engaging mystery to solve.
Intruder in Antiquonia sees players exploring, talking to residents and solving puzzles in order to discover Sarah’s true identity and purpose in the town. There are plenty of locations to explore and a diverse range of characters to seek help from. The walking pace is a little slow but fast travel is possible using a map hand-drawn for Sarah by an NPC. Objects that can be interacted with will be indicated when hovering the cursor over them, there is the additional option to press tab and highlight all such objects in the current area.
The controls are a little unconventional and despite being listed as a point-and-click game, some keyboard controls are utilised. Most peculiarly, dialogue progresses automatically at a slightly slow pace, and to progress manually the player needs to press full stop on their keyboard where a mouse click might be more expected. Whilst this felt a little unfamiliar at first it was easy enough to get used to.
The game’s puzzles are its stand-out feature. They are largely inventory based with some variety in the form of things like deducing passwords, rewiring some electrical cables correctly and other more logic-based challenges. Unlike some other games in this genre, there is not a hint of a convoluted or counterintuitive solution. The conundrums are concise and can always be solved with observation and reason making them highly satisfying to complete. Additionally, there are always hints to be found in-game and sometimes there is more than one way to solve a specific puzzle.
Intruder in Antiquonia has a delightful 2D art style consisting of hand-drawn cartoon-like illustrations in muted colour palettes with pops of vibrancy. There are a range of different locations to explore and all are depicted with a nice amount of detail and with a good sense of atmosphere. Some of the animations, such as walking, feel a tad clunky but this is not too distracting.
The game’s music ranges from mysterious and eerie to relaxing yet slightly melancholy and features woodwind and piano most prominently. The atmospheric tunes are a pleasure to listen to and really help immerse the player in the experience.
Intruder in Antiquonia is a great narrative experience and puzzle game. It may lack a tiny bit of polish in places but more than makes up for that with the quality of the storytelling and the gameplay. Players will be kept entertained and engaged throughout the 2-3 hours it takes to complete, with well-designed puzzles and a constantly evolving storyline. Overall the game is an impressive offering from the small team that created it and I happily recommend it to fans of detective games and point-and-click titles.
If you like point-and-click games, you may also like:
Landlord of the Woods – Point-and-Click Puzzling for Under £1! – The Darkside Detective – 9 Point-and-Click Mysteries with a Spooky Twist! – Pants Quest – Puzzles and Struggles in this Everyday Adventure