Of Pawns & Kings Review: Can it Become a Worthy Pawn of its Genre?
It’s not often you see a game in development for over 25 years. An exception to this is the upcoming game Of Pawns & Kings. When I heard about this game, I knew I had to check it out. Of Pawns and Kings is a point and click game with a very unique, engaging story. The game’s developer, Ingo Stuckenbrock, says the game is a mixture of The Secret of Monkey Island meets Riven meets Labyrinth. The game has been in production for over 25 years, but has just recently made it to a Kickstarter campaign in hopes of completing it.
In an interview with Cryptic Hybrid, Stuckenbrock described the game as “A point and click game gently modernized.” While the game is a mystery type of game in which you are solving puzzles, it also has a serious storyline in which the player has to make choices that guide their progress.
“A point and click game gently modernized.”Ingo Stuckenbrock
Along with the Kickstarter, a demo for the game has just been released which we were able to test. Demos are always an interesting thing in indie games, because you never know what you are going to get. However, we were definitely impressed with what we saw.
As the game loads, you are immediately drawn in with beautiful art. I’m not talking about rough sketches or uncolored designs; the art that makes up the scenery is truly breathtaking. It does a fantastic job of making you feel like you are entering a secluded little tropical island. At the same time, a well balanced audio is playing in harmony with the scenery. Birds chirp in one ear and distant waterfalls crash in the other. You can tell right off the bat that a myriad of thought and time has been put into this project.
While I won’t get into the story in too much detail since this is just a demo, I will say that what I’ve seen so far is great. You are welcomed by a talking bird and the character that the story revolves around. They catch you up to speed on what’s happening and why you are there. The bird is pretty clever and seems like he may have some interesting stories when the full game is out. At one point I clicked on a skeleton and selected to talk to it, to which my character just replied with a “Really?” That had me laughing for a good couple minutes. I really enjoyed the funny and straight-forward little commentary throughout the game.
The actual gameplay is very smooth. The camera angles and the way it moves through the world is very easy to watch. No jerky motions or skipped frames. It feels very natural. The map feature also allows you to go to any camera view on the map with the click of a button, so you can easily hop over from one side of the map to the other without having to click all the way there. This is a very nice, well-executed feature. Some point and click games can feel very jerky or choppy when they cut, but this game does not have any of those problems.
As I was enjoying taking everything in I noticed lots of little details, like the fish swimming in the ocean, pieces of wood bobbing up and down with the waves, etc. Just small things that are well thought out and placed. You could really just watch the scenery and relax if you wanted to.
The developer has a sense of humor that comes through with his own dialog that pops up at certain times. The demo allows you to search for a couple chests on the map, and I won’t spoil what’s inside, but the first chest you find will really show some of the developer’s humor. I am very intrigued to see what else will come in a game that is meant to have a serious tone at times.
So, what will the game be about? It will follow the story of a 17-year old boy, Nik, who’s living with his grandfather on this remote island. He has always had a great deal of freedom and little worries. However, when a stranger shows up and something terrible happens, Nik will have to figure out what to do, and what his future holds for him. As a high-stakes mystery, we can’t wait to see the journey that the game will take its players on.
As the demo closes, one of the final things you are left to ponder is that you are now “considered a worthy pawn.” I truly hope this game will become a worthy pawn in its genre of click and points and breath some life back into this type of game. As gaming progresses these older genres like click and points are left behind, so I’m very excited to see someone bringing them back into style.