I’ll be doing a full review later in the week, once I’ve had time to get through more of the game, but for now we’ll take a quicker look at my day 9 choice – The World Next Door.
Rose City Games, based in Portland, was created in 2015 and has been an active part of Portland’s indie scene. The World Next Door is their first original game, and it’s definitely an eye-catching debut. A fresh art style and catchy soundtrack can easily pull anyone in. Beyond the surface, the characters seem enjoyable so far, wielding a range of personalities that you can get to know better through texting and conversations.
Jun has dreamed of going to Emyrs – a parallel world inhabited by magical creatures. When she wins the opportunity to visit for a day, she’s excited to spend some time with her online friend, Liza, and experience this new place. Unfortunately, a rebellious trip to a forbidden shrine botches plans to get Jun back home in time, trapping her. Even worse, humans can’t survive long in Emyrs, effectively sentencing Jun to a quick death unless they can come up with a plan.
The fighting style in The World Next Door is a surprisingly fresh twist on match-three mechanics. You and the enemy are on an arena made of various tile types. Three or more of the same type form an attack (or sometimes various other moves, such as healing). To help facilitate their win, players can swap tiles as necessary. This is mixed with real-time mechanics where enemies are attacking you and moving across the arena as well. The result is both familiar and new – it’s easy to get used to, but should feel fresh and fun for most players. As enemy strategies change, you’ll find different strategies and understand which tiles are best for which approach.
I’d like to tell you what happens next, but unfortunately I came across a problem in my gameplay and had to stop for the time being. I’m not sure if it was a controller issue or a game issue, but moving diagonally or switching from left-right to up-down would make the character catch and lag in the most frustrating way possible. In the overworld it was just annoying, but once faced with real-time puzzle fights, I was barely able to get by because it slowed me down so much. As a result, I had to quit before I could get too far, and will be on a mission over the next few days to get a new controller to try out.
Still, with its unique gameplay, quirky dialogue, and beautiful art, so far my impression of The World Next Door has been pretty great and I look forward to trying more!
Rose City Games has also already announced their next game – Cat Lady. When Ally Marie arrives at her grandma’s house, she discovers that evil has moved in. Along with the cats, it’s up to her to save the day! Like The World Next Door, Cat Lady features a super stylistic art style that should be enough to make anyone fall in love. Since this is a brand new announcement, there’s not a whole lot of information to share yet, but this will definitely be one to watch for!