When I hear the term ‘casual game’, I usually think of games like Bejeweled, Solitaire, Angry Birds or any derivative of said games. When I came across the throwback text-based adventure, ‘Next Island: Origins’ for the iPhone, it stood out as a game that deserved a look. Created as a prequel to an upcoming ‘free2play’ MMO (massively multiplayer online game) ‘Next Island’, ‘Origins’ gives us a peak into the events and characters that shaped the soon to be released virtual world.
The story is told from the viewpoint of your father, a scientist name Dr. Elias, who went missing from a self-governed Utopian island in the midst of the Cold War in 1983. Events unfold through a program (or game) written by Dr. Elias that was recently discovered in a safety deposit box. He wrote the program for you to one-day find so that you can understand the decisions he had to make that would lead to the discovery of a futuristic parallel dimension – Next Island. Since this program was created in the early nineteen eighties, we get to experience the story as though we are sitting at a vintage computer terminal. It’s a really fun concept that helps to establish the period.
Gameplay simply consists of scrolling through pages of the story using an easy to use scroll bar on the side of the screen. At various points in the story, you are presented with a number of options from Dr. Elias must choose. Accompanying each page is some beautifully illustrated artwork that helps to flesh out the scenes. Also adding to the immersion of the story is an almost eerie sound track that loops in the background giving just a little bit of tension to each scene.
Without giving the conclusion away, there is a puzzle element added to game that calls on your observation skills and coordination. I was glad to see the developer throw in some extra interaction to augment the experience.
‘Next Island: Origins’ is a relatively short game, but it’s also evident that they put a great deal of care into the package as a whole. ‘Origins’ has done more to pique my interest in the PC release of ‘Next Island’ than any typical marketing or non-interactive pre-rendered cinematic I’ve seen in recent years. I imagine that was their goal. Developers looking to expand their games back-story and lore should take note of this one.
- Genre: Text-Based Adventure
- Developer: Battletested Entertainment
- Rated: 4+
- Platform: iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad) *reviewed on iPod Touch
- Price: $.99
Press release for ‘Next Island’ PC release:
The upcoming virtual world Next Island will be a free2play, downloadable virtual world for the PC. Players will be able to customize their avatars, pursue virtual professions from hunting to hairdressing, explore a vast virtual world, join societies and complete in-game challenges.
Next Island will pioneer virtual item crafting for real cash as a vital part of the in-world economy. Players will have the ability to earn real cash through in-game crafting and other professions or through trading virtual property, and they will be able to transfer their virtual currency to dollars directly through Mindark, without the risks of a third party transaction.
For further information on Next Island: Origins and Next Island, please go to NextIsland.com. You can find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/NextIsland, follow us on Twitter @nextisland, or see our trailers at YouTube.com/NextIslandVW.