The lights are on
Described by creator Katharine Neil as delivering "slow-paced,
low-octane gameplay that will have you fully reclined on your chaise longue,"
Alone in the Park takes players on an atypical adventure through a national
park full of odd characters and humorous encounters.
Originally developed as a browser game, Alone in the Park is
a clever mix of a text adventure and graphic adventure that will be available
on PC, Mac, Linux, and iPad on June 15. Told from a first-person perspective,
the game follows the protagonist on a trek through Spiegel national park as she
searches for pieces of a secret map. Players wander across a barren map of the
park by clicking and holding their mouse, which causes a dotted line to trace
their movements, similar to the traveling sequences in the Indiana Jones films.
Various landmarks are sketched in as the player discovers them, some of which
can be further investigated, revealing objects and characters to interact with.
You'll collect a plethora of items while searching for the
missing map pieces, but your interactions with the world are more about
unfolding layers of the story than solving puzzles. That's not a bad thing, as
Alone in the Park's main appeal lies in its writing, which is composed mostly of
your encounters with the game's characters. Dialog is handled by simply
dragging items and pictures of NPCs from your inventory to the onscreen
character, at which point the conversation plays out on the left-hand page.
Each character you come across embodies a humorous
stereotype: an extreme sports-loving rock climber, a flaky spiritual healer,
etc. The protagonist exhibits the most well-rounded and relatable personality,
which is slowly fleshed out by her irreverent descriptions of the characters
she meets and her responses during conversations. Whether I was trying to fan the
flames of passion between a business-obsessed yuppie on a fishing trip and a
gothic LARPer or appease a particularly shrewd child who the protagonist is
irrationally afraid of, the three- to four-hour narrative (not to mention the particularly
humorous theme song, performed by Neil) provided a decent amount of chuckles.
To learn more about Alone in the Park and what it's like being
an indie developer, we spoke with Katharine Neil, who shared her thoughts on her
inspirations, the current state of gaming, and her upcoming projects.
Email the author Jeff Marchiafava, or follow on Google+, Twitter, and Game Informer.