For the past few years, mobile game developer Simogo has been experimenting with new ways to tell interactive stories. It started with Year Walk, a creepy adventure game that took players through the depths of Swedish folklore, and the duo followed that up with the delightfully strange spy novel-like experience Device 6 and last month's peaceful short story collection The Sailor's Dream.
Now, to celebrate the holidays, the studio has released The Sensational December Machine, a free game that boils Simogo's storytelling sensibility into an experience that lasts just a few short, wonderful minutes.
Sort of like a digital picture book
Built over the course of three weeks, The Sensational December Machine is sort of like a digital picture book. It tells the story of a young inventor who creates a strange new machine, and you "play" by clicking through text that appears on screen in a weird, yet natural three-dimensional way; you'll wander down paths and go through tunnels, as the words physically follow along with the events of the story. The charming narrative is coupled with hand-drawn art that looks sort of like a Victorian take on "The Starry Night," and a lovely new song from frequent Simogo collaborator Daniel Olsén. It sounds simple, and it is, but all of the elements work together to create a very heartwarming experience — this is definitely a game you'll want to play with headphones in and your attention focused, preferably with a nice hot mug of coffee in your hands.
"The year is almost over, and it's that time of the year when you look back, get a bit contemplative and perhaps even a little misty eyed," Simogo's Simon Flesser and Magnus Gardebäck say of the new release. "What we found looking back, is that we always get so much support and kindness from our fans, and we wanted to find a way to express our gratitude." You can download The Sensational December Machine for free now on both Windows and Mac.