[su_box title=”Potential Spoiler Warning”]OSP received a preview version of The Perils of Man recently and we’d like to share a bit of our experience with you. If you haven’t read up on this game, or haven’t played the first two episodes, previously available on mobile, you may want to skip out on this. There will be some spoilery-type facts, though most of this info is also included in the description for the game on the Steam store page. If you’d like to get a feel for how it plays and looks, proceed. We’ll try to keep story talk at a minimum[/su_box]
The Perils of Man has potential built directly into its DNA. As we discussed in our release date announcement post, though the game is coming to us from Swiss developer IF Games, the head of the project is American game designer, Bill Tiller. For those of you with some knowledge in the area of classic adventure gaming, that name may sound familiar. This is because Tiller was an artist, designer and writer for LucasArts during the last few years of their heyday. His works include lead background artist on Curse of Monkey Island (CMI) and lead artist/director of the Steven Spielberg, Orson Scott Card collaboration, The Dig.
The Perils of Man is a classic adventure game in structure, with a point and click interface. It makes use of 3D models which have a feel of Tim Burton-y style mixed with clay. For those of you that have been keeping up with adventure games during their, let’s say, slower period, the style will be reminiscent of two of Tiller’s other, more recent games, A Vampyre Story and Ghost Pirates of Vooju Island. It fits the genre and the story that The Perils of Man presents us with.
Our preview build provides us with the first two chapters of the game, as well as the 5th — presumably to provide us with a taste of specific game mechanics found in later stages of the story. Ana is an inquisitive teenage girl, living in a large ancestral home with her mother. This highly over-protective matriarch seems to have lost her mind ever-so-slightly after the disappearance of Ana’s father. It’s on a stormy evening that Ana begins to unravel the mystery of said disappearance and the deeper story of her family.
When Ana receives an unexpected gift from her missing father, she is catapulted headlong into a mystery that will take her on a journey through time.
Through the first two chapters, Ana will discover the secrets of the family manor, which includes a hidden lab in a sub-basement. She will also gain a companion and some useful tools which, jumping forward to chapter 5, we get to experience a little. The story raises the questions of the resulting impact of manipulate events in history and how that exactly ties into Ana’s family legacy will be revealed throughout the rest of the chapters of the game.
Stylistically speaking, the game is consistent — characters, their voice acting, and appearance mesh well with the background designs. The Camera does some interesting things. It has a fixed location, with dynamic movement. This works for the most part in most areas, with some cool transitions. The story and the exact means of time manipulation are interesting. How well they work will be defined by the complete narrative.
As a preview build there are plenty of bugs to be had, so as always, bear that in mind as I discuss some of the game’s issues. Some animation are slow to start, and get caught up on boundaries of areas or objects in the scene. They are simplistic, possibly by design, with the walk cycles particularly not having a lot of weight to them. There are some instances of clipping here and there, but nothing major. One of the bigger troubles is the hot spots for area transitions are sometimes missed by your movement — Ana will move into a new area, but the camera will stay in the old one. All of these are fairly minor things that I’m sure the team is already working on most of them as the release date approaches later this month.
The Perils of Man sets up an interesting premise, posing some ethical questions in relations to time travel. Our brief taste of this conundrum doesn’t break any new ground, but that’s what the rest of the story is for. It has a definite classic adventure appeal and exaggerated style that many will like as well.
The desktop version of The Perils of Man is currently in development by Vertigo Games and is set for release via Steam on April 28th, 2015.