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Amnesia Fortnight: The Final Days and Prototypes
It’s been a long journey filled with blood, sweat and monkey tears but the end of Double Fine’s Amnesia Fortnight is finally here and Leviathyn is here to give you the breakdown on the final days of the event and our verdict on the final prototype.
The final days of the internal game jam were almost as exciting as the first few with the Mnemonic team bringing their game together with just enough time to test out some Oculus Rift compatibility, while the Pendleton Ward-led team struggled to get the ambitious Little Pink Best Buds polished enough for post-Amnesia Fortnight playtest. Meanwhile the teams working on despotic-ruler simulator Dear Leader and horseback-combat extravaganza Steed worked away at putting the final touches on their prototypes. You can check out the video diary for the final day of the event below:
Now that the event has come to a close, the final prototypes for Mnemonic, Steed, Dear Leader and Little Pink Best Buds are available and Leviathyn has impressions of each below.
Of all the initial pitches, Mnemonic was by far one of the most compelling, and the prototype that Double Fine released definitely lived up to the ambition of the pitch. The team behind the prototype absolutely nailed the noir vibe on both the visual and sound sides of the game’s presentation. Given that it was a prototype, I wasn’t expecting too much in terms of difficult puzzles from Mnemonic but it ended up having more than a few head-scratchers. Despite it’s short length, the Mnemonic prototype was hugely impressive to me and I hope the idea gets taken further and made into a full release by Double Fine.
Steed was my pick of the initial crop of pitches and while the final prototype has a lot of character, it doesn’t quite stack up compared to the quality of some of the other Amnesia Fortnight games. The prototype works well as an introduction to the tone of the story and the game’s mechanics but doesn’t get very ambitious beyond that. The voice acting and writing for both Bellefire and Twig was also very strong. The combat mechanics may have captured the feel of playing as a horse but they don’t end up being as fun as one might hope. Ultimately, Steed is still an impressive prototype for something made within two weeks but next to some of the other Amnesia Fortnight prototypes it doesn’t hold up as well.
Papers, Please was one of the most talked about indie games of last year and Dear Leader owes a lot to Lucas Pope’s Eastern-European immigration simulator. That said, the game does give the player a lot more power than Papers, Please with players taking the role of a despotic dictator trying to establish and maintain a post-revolution government. There’s a lot of fun when it comes to customization here with players hiring ministers, choosing where to allocate government funds and orchestrating propaganda campaigns. There’s a lot of cool potential here, even if it is held back by some minor bugs.
Little Pink Best Buds
Where Steed might have not been ambitious enough, Pendleton Ward’s Little Pink Best Buds may have been slightly too ambitious. The game is super open-ended and unless you’ve been keeping up and watching the development diaries for the game, this is the kind of openness that can easily become confusing and intimidating. That said, there’s a lot of charm in the writing and voice acting of the different best buds and the sense of humor that the game boasts is sure to appeal to fans of Adventure Time. The open ended nature of the conversation system can be magical when it works but it too often falls apart and that can be really frustrating. Little Pink Best Buds is by far the most ambitious of the prototypes and a very fun experience to play through, but it’s not necessarily the best of the lot.
If you missed any of Leviathyn’s earlier coverage on the event you can check it out here, here and here. You can also check out our review of Broken Age and our interview with the man behind Bad Golf: Community Edition.