Weird, but it works.
Developer: Marshlight Software
Publisher: Marshlight Software
Genre: Atmospheric Adventure
Type: Single Player
Release date: May 9, 2017
The Edgelands first presents you with a mysterious bedroom. Everything looks familiar and normal as you take the role of an unnamed girl browsing on her laptop in bed. Once you browse all you can, you can freely move around the room. A cat steals the eye as you see it moving with each step you take towards it. As the cat leaves, curiosity remains regarding the objects with which you can interact in the room, and in turn, the house. This aimless investigation soon turns into a task of finding keys so you can unlock the front door to continue following the cat.
This is a good way to introduce a world like our own, but different. There are a few things that turn out to be weird, but you get hints as you interact with everything, not only showing that this world is like our own, but also telling you how you need to interact with it to continue.
As you venture out of the house and into the game world, for some reason you are compelled to follow the cat everywhere it goes. Each task in the game generally involves finding something to progress past an obstacle, though usually it is a little more complicated than finding keys in a house. You need to work out who and what to interact with to open up a path. Each area follows the same model, and it can be annoying with this rinse-and-repeat vibe, despite efforts to mix it up. On the bright side, you get to interact with interesting characters and see a lot of the game world.
Both the visuals and the text add flavour to the world. The way the game describes everything is intriguing. It’s not completely linear; you do get some choices. They’re mostly obvious and simple — either do something or not — but some have surprising outcomes, in particular those that cause a change in the soundtrack. These choices provide some replayability, so that you can see the outcomes of the other options, but a play through will be between three and four hours either way.
One aspect of the game that is jarring is the use of screens that name areas as you travel between them. These act as a kind of loading screen, but the experience would have been more involving if the game provided animated transitions instead, leaving you to work out where you are.
I absolutely love the art style. It constantly reminded me of art projects I did in elementary school with colored paper. I personally remember doing two different kinds: one where we used scissors to get clean edges and cuts, and one where we couldn’t use scissors, so we had to have rough edges to make an image. (Who else cheated and used scissors to cut out the shape and tear off the sharp edges?) The Edgelands blends these two together in a pleasing way, giving the game a unique look. The people and objects are the clean-cut paper and the environment around them looks like it has rough edges. The style shines even more when the area is set on a black canvas.
As there is really no story that connects all of the areas, you need to like this art style. As you walk through the game world, there is always something to look at on the screen. Everything looks interesting, especially when much of the world is similar to what we see everyday. There are a few instances of animation, other than walking, that also catch the eye; they really feel like you have an effect on the world in some capacity, and they’re not just so you can fulfill a checklist to continue on with the game.
+ Love the art style
+/- Walking speed could be faster
+/- Do not expect an overarching story
The Edgelands is a weird game. If you love the art style and don’t care about a plot, or you like games that have a weird vibe, you will probably like this game. Before buying, just make sure that you know the important aspects of games that you like, and which others you can dismiss.