Don’t let the lateness on this one fool you – Rose City Games’ The World Next Door was one of my favourite PAX demos! If you haven’t heard of this gorgeously-done RPG, check out the GameSpot gameplay trailer first:
The World Next Door puts the player in the place of Jun, a human girl trapped in a supernatural world. Blending puzzle gaming with action-adventure and narrative, you’ll have the chance to make decisions along the way, affecting your relationships as you go.
Initially the result of a game jam, The World Next Door is a fresh take on a familiar mechanic. Battle takes place on puzzle tiles, with a goal to match three or more of the same type. The player can rearrange the board a bit, but real-time combat means that your enemy can move just as freely as you can, and will be headed your way. Each tile has a different type of effect, so if you plan carefully, you can sometimes make it easier on yourself by using tiles with a paralyzing effect first, for example.
It’s a mechanic that makes life a little more difficult than the usual hack-and-slash approach, but also way more engaging. The player can’t just idly hide in safe spots or power through by smashing buttons – they have to pay attention to their surroundings and think quickly. Of course, it gets more complicated as you move forward, but in the demo I found it to be a great middle ground between easy enough to play without getting super-salty, and challenging enough that I had to put actual effort into it.
The World Next Door also features an incredible aesthetic and atmosphere that my friend and I fell in love with when we stopped by the booth. The traditional art style is gorgeous to look at, and gives it a different feel than your average action-adventure video games. Paired with probably my favourite music that I heard from any demo at PAX West, the end result is a fun, different feel that I’m looking forward to really digging into when it comes out.
The World Next Door will be coming to PC, OSX, and Nintendo Switch in early 2019!
For now, you can find more at https://theworldnextdoor.com/