2. Herald (Wispfire)
An adventure game throwback.
I said in my original review of Herald that it reminded me of the games I played on Windows 95 when I was a kid. And playing that game struck me with that feeling throughout the game. Considering the limited space of the HLV Herald, it says a lot about the design of the game that I spent most of my time just wandering around the ship: taking in the small details of its organization and culture. Many of the ship’s missions deal with life on the ship and learning about its crew: giving it a far more intimate and familial feeling than many game locations. This is the Spencer Mansion in the visual novel genre: a place that you will grow accustomed to quickly and enjoy the small moments of quiet in the story.
The overall story is great: featuring a political thriller that takes great care to keep everyone’s’ hand close to their chests: making things much harder for our protagonist Devan. Despite the simple premise and retro style, Herald is a complex game that requires the player to think several steps ahead when making decisions instead of acting on impulse in the moment. I would just stick to framing it as a retro adventure game and let the fans explore it from there. It can certainly pull its weight once you are in.