PEGBRJE: Lonely Wolf Treat and TimeOut
Lonely Wolf Treat is a short narrative adventure created by NomNomNami, a solo indie developer best known for short, soft and cute games with this being their first foray in to RPGmaker. For this adventure, it features the titular character who is a lonely wolf named Treat just trying to live right beside a village of rabbits.
Players navigate the world by walking to and from Treat’s house, fulfilling objectives that can help her to move the plot forward such as purchasing food and making her way back home. Much of the trips outside are spent in scrutiny, however, thanks to Treat’s wolfish nature which causes the locals to constantly berate and distrust her. It isn’t until one little rabbit named Mochi bursts in to her house in a panic that Treat begins to open up to another, and together they navigate the small world in order to acquire the ingredients for curry. Much of the game is spent dealing with their relationship, as many perceive Mochi’s actions as dangerous; continuing to assist a wolf, a natural predator to rabbits, will only encourage her to stay. Grappling with this constant debate between how she is perceived due to nature and how she wishes to actually be perceived is just how Treat deals with her day to day, but Mochi wants to understand why. It’s sweet to connect with another based on personality rather than imposed expectations, although even Mochi learns that some habits are harder to break than expected, especially when it comes to interacting with one outside of her normal social circle.
Lonely Wolf Treat isn’t long, nor is it advertised to be, clocking in around 15–30 minutes depending on reading and the bits of exploration. It wants players to simply enjoy the softness of the art and the heartwarming story, knowing full well that it isn’t treading new ground or trying to narratively explore something new. It just wants to share a happy story of a wolf finally making a friend and making curry together. If you need this kind of comfiness right now, boot this up and try it out. Just don’t think too hard about where the chicken comes from.
TimeOut is a 2.5D noire narrative adventure created by Christopher Lee, an indie dev based out of Singapore. Like with every good noire it features a disgruntled detective named Sherwood, called to investigate a case down at the bar in a land in which time is money: literally.
Inspired by In Time, everyone is paid and pays with their time, and once it reaches zero that’s it; time’s up. Regardless of one’s personal opinions on how that film handled the concept, it allows for a dystopian and gritty outlook on how society views the fear of losing time, and what better way than with a noire? TimeOut dives right in to this aesthetic, following as Sherwood is trying to discovers a phenomenon in which a client’s husband was killed by ‘fake time’, which sounds implausible in their current system. How does one ‘fake’ time? That’s what Sherwood is going to investigate, or possibly not; after all, this is a narrative adventure, and there are choices to make. Whether or not certain choices are taken may not alter much, but the ability to alter Sherwood’s fate allows for players to think that they have some semblance of control even in a world that has ripped most of that away from its people. Exploration allows for players to see what the world looks like in the different districts, and the time device allows for Sherwood to track how much time he and the others around him have, and see the discrepency between those that have a lot and those who are knocking on death’s door.
It’s a short experience, but TimeOut gives a glimpse into its world for just long enough to draw in the interest. After all, this was a student project, and I believe it was launched for free after it was completed. The artwork is gorgeous, and while I have some issues with the combat system in place it doesn’t detract from the overall experience. If you love that noire film aesthetic and wanted to see what would happen if a dab of sci fi was added on top, this is definitely the experience for you.