Disney on Tuesday revealed that Avengers: Endgame passed the R100 million mark in the local South African Box Office this past weekend. The movie…
Last year, William Pugh, co-creator of the very unique and eccentric The Stanley Parable, announced the opening of his new game studio, Crows Crows Crows. Along with this news he also released a mysterious and rather complex mini-game that he claimed was a teaser for his latest soon-to-be-released title.
This teaser game took you on a detective style browser adventure filled with various hints and clues, some very hidden, to solve a grand mystery. With the fact that this was supposed to be a teaser for the new game in mind, most drew the conclusion that the actual title will be some sort of investigation game.
In a very obscure way, this wasn’t far from the truth. That truth being though, that this isn’t an investigation game at all. Why?
Well, when you start up the game the narrator tells you that you can’t play it right now because somebody else is already playing your game. Excuse me, can you please say that again?
That’s right. Even though the game you expected does exist somewhere in this digital reality, you just never get to play it. But don’t let that put you down. This title is still more than worth your time.
If you’re still feeling a bit confused (I won’t blame you), I recommend that you read this piece where I took a deeper look at the teaser game. Personally, I feel that the teaser and this title are meant to be part of a single experience so definitely give it a go too.
But for now, let us take a closer look at Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist.
The Spoiler Free Version
Before I begin I just have to say that I can’t really divulge too much of the story as it the crux of this game’s experience and impact. Though I will try very hard to walk on the line between spoilers and being informative, I know that the correct placement of that line will be relative to each player’s opinion.
So here’s a brief and vague paragraph that will summarize the experience without going into any detail:
Our narrator is played by Simon Amstell, a British comedian that is well known for his witty and awkward humour. The game takes between 15-30 minutes to complete, depending on how inquisitive you are, and you can experience it all for the ludicrously expensive price of absolutely free. The level design is spectacularly vibrant, the dialogue very humorous and the narrative pleasantly unique.
From here on in, I will explain the game in more detail so if you want to experience the game with totally fresh eyes then I must ask you not to read any further.
How To Make A Game
From the moment the then up-and-coming game was announced until the moment I pressed “Start Game”, everything has lead me to believe this was some kind of noir-ish detective style game.
And then I pressed “Start Game”. Nothing happens. I move my cursor and I realise that I’ve already entered the game and was only starting at a picture of the actual start-up menu. “Very clever,” I think.
Curious and confused, I look around and see that I in some back stage area. There are two doors leading out. One reads “Front of House” and the other “Publicity and Liasons Front Of Desk”. In the background I hear a rehearsal taking place and, by the sound of it, things aren’t running too smoothly.
After exploring the room a bit I press a buzzer and the narrator turns his attention towards me. He informs me that I unfortunately can’t play my game at the moment as “somebody is playing it right now”. I’ll have to wait until that other player is done.
I think it was at this moment I realised that this wasn’t going to be the game I expected. In retrospect though, considering who the creator of this title is, I can safely say that I was never really sure what to expect.
I discover that the narrator (Simon Amstell) is the director of the game I’m supposed to be playing. He tells me that his studio has “um… something of a strike situation emerging” and they’ve become “quite understaffed”. He goes on to say that he can actually use your help making the game run for the other player.
And that’s what you do for the next twenty minutes; make this illusive game run behind the scenes. And it’s actually absolutely awesome. Here, once again, William Pugh shows his knack for creating distinctive and compelling stories.
His alternative take on how games are run backstage is brilliantly quirky and as I progressed through the game I couldn’t help but smile as I experienced this game’s creative approaches.
The star of the show is of course comedian Simon Amstell. For a game that is driven more through narrative than gameplay, his voice acting did a superb job of keeping me captivated and entertained. His distinctively awkward humour had me laughing most of the game and when things started going wrong on our expedition, his anxious and tense tone would add a lot of substance to the experience.
The environments are astonishingly beautiful and alive with vivid colours. Each room you walk into has its own eye dazzling colour scheme and built in a way that, no matter what angle you look from, you feel like you’re walking through an art piece.
Even though it is a narrative driven game, the developers have managed to through anough gameplay elements in the mix to keep the game immersive and interactive. The mechanics are admittedly simple but none the less are masterfully placed within the context of the story.
Release Date: 4 December 2015
Developer: Crows Crows Crows
Publisher: Crows Crows Crows
Verdict: Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist is a beautifully designed title with extremely humours and captivating narrative. It might take you only twenty minutes to complete but those minutes are filled with a lot of heart and soul. And the fact that you can get it totally free is extremely generous and should make playing this a absolute no-brainer.