If you’re going to play only one indie game this year – this is it.
In a world filled with stunning life-like 3D graphics, DALL-E that makes art out of words, and video game trends that apply VHS filters on poorly rendered face models, finding something fresh and unique is extremely rare. Who would think, that mixing cryptids, pulp-like story, and solitaire with a text-adventure game, could shake the world? Apparently, that’s exactly what LCB Game Studio did in Mothmen 1966.
What’s Mothmen 1966?
It’s a text-based adventure game created with a very limited colour pallete, ZX Spectrum-style. Or teletext style. Pick your poison. And while I’m too young to remember games like that, I really enjoyed Return of the Obra Dinn that also featured limited colour pallete.
Creators decided on cyan, lime, red (obviously), black, and white. It takes a second to get used to it, but if it’s dark around and all you hear is the 8-bit tones coming from your screen, you quickly sink in and it all makes sense.
The story, as the name of the series (Pixel Pulp) suggests, should resemble those found in pulp fiction books from the 80s. Hence, it should be fairly interesting, a bit unbelievable, with pretty typical characters. And, well, it ticks all the boxes, but I have to say: our heroes are a bit deeper than I’d expect!
We have Victoria, Lee, and Holt and throughout 10 chapters, the game will switch us between them, allowing us to experience the story, and get to know the people a little better.
As you can see from the screenshots above, the interface is very minimalistic. We have a frame up top, that shows us what’s going on (they’re not completely static tho!), and below that we will usually have either dialogue or the possible actions. For the mini-card-game (a variant of TriPeaks Solitaire) using d-pad and commands may seem weird (or even wrong) but you get used to it pretty quickly. Like, surprisingly quickly. I’m a sucker for Solitaire, so, omg-yes, totally my cup of coffee (or *ekhm* energy drink).
The plot is linear and the decision-making will either result in achievement or… death. Ha. In the second case, we’re going back to the beginning of the puzzle when we try to make the right choices.
What I absolutely loved, is that every puzzle in the game is different and we have to really think, to figure them out. Especially the fights, where death seems like the easiest option of all. But beware, there are no hints and no ways to skip them.
As you probably expect, it’s all focused on Mothman. Or even, Mothmen. While in Fallout 76 they usually travel alone, here we will see a whole bunch of them! And actually, they’re not the only creatures we will encounter.
What feels good, is that it’s not a basic one-storyline-short-story type of game. It’s short, sure, but we get to look at the past, explore the personal drama, and learn, what affected their behavior. Also, yes, enjoy the best sentence I’ve heard in weeks:
“we all need
a little darkness”
+ unique graphics
+ thrilling story with actually deep characters
+ not just the text-adventure
+ mix-and-match gameplay
+ 0 bugs (at least on Xbox)
– can’t find any
The game is coming out today (June 14th) on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC. I obviously played on Xbox (Series S). With a price tag of $9/€8, it’s literally like buying both devs a coffee! Because yes, it’s developed by just two people.