#2 The Long Reach
Head to the science laaaaaaaaahb
Does no one ever learn? Nothing good ever comes from scientific research organisations deciding to develop accelerated knowledge. One minute you’re on a talk show with the best of intentions saying how good your work will be for humanity, the next the apocalypse has arrived via your slavering hungry creations and suddenly you’re the bad guy for wanting everyone to be instasmart. Ironic really. If Thimbleweed Park has you hankering for more new adventure games – or more ways to be really stuck while gazing at a lone piece of string or a frying pan – look no further than pixelated noir nasty The Long Reach. This is the first game from Painted Black Games in Ukraine and from the get-go there was no question of what the team should get to work on. “We are huge fans of the adventure genre. I mean, fanatics. Each of us has played a lot of them throughout life, so we want to make a game which could be exciting not only for players but us as well,” explains Vlad Veterok, from the studio. “The sources of our inspiration are too numerous to list, but we’ve taken a little of the atmosphere from Matrix, Resident Evil, and Lone Survivor. Also, we’ve been inspired by The Last Door, True Detective, and Fargo.”
Research and rescue
The game was originally a mobile title, but the team has been through multiple iterations to bring it to as wide an audience as possible. While there’s plenty of dialogue and tricky puzzles to solve – how does the coffee cup interact with the servers exactly? – the team wants to deliver not only a story that you’ll care about but one that can scare you too. Lone Survivor proved that pixels can still be terrifying, and with an ominous soundtrack – complete with scratching strings to put your teeth on edge – The Long Reach is more of the same. “Thanks to our artist Alina Berdnik and composer Ruslan Viter, we have a piece of darkness here,” says Veterok. “Honestly, when I was testing the second scene, I trembled with fear trying to solve one creepy puzzle.”
The team isn’t giving away exactly what’s hunting junior researcher Stewart, but we’re guessing that monsters are at work. Gameplay we’ve seen so far shows the survivors of the research facility defending themselves with knives and weapons while others haven’t been so lucky, lying sprawled bloodily in labs and shops. The word ‘transmutation’ is being teased so we know that whatever’s hunting in the dark definitely isn’t kittens. With more than 50 locations and slews of other survivors to manage, The Long Reach looks like a surprising grim delight. Throw in the fact that this is a welcome PS Vita release too, our favourite portable indie machine, and the end of the world as we know it can’t come soon enough. Good luck, Stewart. You’re going to need it.
Saving the world might be a little above Stewart’s pay grade, but he’s trying anyway.
This guy clearly couldn’t find the specific flavour of Monster Munch he was hunting down. It’s pickled onion or nothing in the science labs.