It’s incredibly difficult find great games with multiple lead, playable characters in a story. The challenge for the developer is that even if each character isn’t likeable, they have to at least be interesting and different enough that the player enjoys themselves no matter who they’re playing as and that the characters all offer something unique. The masterclass in bad voice acting, Shadows on the Vatican, couldn’t handle that and even some of Heavy Rain‘s characters put players to sleep.
Cyberpunk adventure Epanalepsis reckons it can pull it off though. This point and click game from developer Cameron Kunzelman and publisher Mastertronic boasts three different characters living three different lives but naturally, they are all somehow connected. The game also bears the tagline “if you knew what the future holds, what would you change?” which is daunting and sort of scary.
More on Epanalepsis after the break.
Epanalepsis Out Now
The three characters at the heart of Epanalepsis are Rachel, a woman who “goes out drinking every night” and has a drug dealer girlfriend, there’s Anthony who’s pretty fond of video games, and finally, there’s a controllable robot who appears to be trying to shut down some sort of evil organisation. Each of the characters have their own little space in time; Rachel does her thing in the 1990s, Anthony’s in the 2010s and the robot’s bleep-blooping about in the 2030s. The big sell is that the game will tell you “a story about those connections”.
However, reactions to the game have been mixed and I suspect that the more Epanalepsis reviews that roll in (the game was released today), the more divisive the game will seem. Some have claimed that it’s too light on gameplay (it boasts the fact that it has neither puzzles nor inventory management) and others aren’t sure just what Epanalepsis is trying to say. Is it trying to say something profound about the use of technology in our world? Or is trying to say nothing at all, letting the players project whatever they want onto it? The boat’s still out on that one but if you liked Proteus, which threw up similar conundrums, you might just like this too.
Epanalepsis is now available on PC, Mac and Linux via Steam. The RRP is £4.99 but it’s currently discounted to £3.99 (20% off) as part of a launch week offer.