“The snow doesn’t give a soft white damn whom it touches.” – E.E. Cummings
Where the Snow Settles is a short interactive fiction about loss, growth, and the supernatural. Players take on the role of Aurelia as she and her sister embark on an adventure to help their village during a particularly cruel winter, of course, things do not go exactly to plan!
Developer: Myriad Games Studio
Released: 22nd July 2021
Price: $10.99/$7.50 or more
The game follows the protagonist Aurelia, a farmer and her sister Esta, a hunter. We meet them during a particularly cold winter during which their village is suffering greatly. Aurelia’s crops failed and the hunt keeps returning empty-handed so Esta convinces Aurelia to leave in search of the next village and hopefully some help! Shortly into the adventure, they reach one of a number of sacred stones, there is something not right with it and when Aurelia is goaded into touching it, she is transported to a parallel spirit world.
The timid little sister finds herself in a strange place and soon discovers that the world is collapsing around her, she must find her strength, find out what is wrong and work out how to stop it. Luckily she meets a number of spirit friends along the way to help her.
The story is told via well-written dialogue and delivered at a nice pace allowing players to enjoy the minimal gameplay and the evocative audio and visual elements. The narrative focuses on how the uncertain protagonist overcomes various challenges and learns to believe in herself giving the game a really wholesome and uplifting feel providing a fun contrast with the darker, supernatural parts of the story.
The linear exploration in Where the Snow Settles is very undemanding and there are no real threats to contend with. It is primarily a walking simulator using simple WASD controls to move and Enter to interact or progress dialogue. The game advances in a number of short chapters and players must traverse two parallel worlds, unravelling the narrative and helping plants and spirit creatures along the way. The dialogue has no choices and the gameplay is quite minimal but for a game of this genre, it adds a good level of interaction to the storytelling and helps connect the player to Aurelia’s experience.
Where the Snow Settles has a cute, low-poly art style using cold bright palettes in the real world whereas the spirit world is made up of gloomier, muted shades with vibrant lighting and pops of vivid colour. This provides a lovely contrast and helps separate the two distinct areas within the game.
The music is very atmospheric and emotive, ranging from dramatic to ethereal as it drones pleasantly but mysteriously in the background. Ambient sound effects such as the wind howling or the rushing of a waterfall also add to the atmosphere and immerse the player in the different worlds.
Where the Snow Settles is a beautiful and wholesome walking simulator and interactive fiction that will take around 2-3 hours to play. Players will enjoy an emotional journey through two different worlds, interesting and distinct characters as well as beautiful and varied styling. The price is perhaps a little steep for the length of the gameplay but if you purchased itch.io’s somewhat recent charity bundle for Ukraine then you already own it!
Looking for another walking simulator?
You can’t go far wrong with Dear Esther: The OG Walking-Simulator.