Saturday, February 2, 2013

Let's Play Snowdrift

Not all games have to be made by big gaming houses or producers in order to have quality. Snowdrift is an example of a game that has a good premise and a decent antagonist, a creepy vibe and actual gameplay mechanics worth indulging. It is, unfortunately, limited by its indie origins and lack of a budget, but Snowdrift has the core of being something interesting.

It stars Sam, the lone survivor in a world being overcome by a progressive darkness. Each day there's less and less sunlight, and Sam, being a survivalist, has to hunt the woods for berries and rabbit to eat, water to drink, and wood to keep his fire lit. Should the fire in his home ever go out over night, the darkness will set in entirely and insanity will take over, ending Sam's journey. However, if you can survive long enough, there's a chance you may be able to overcome this nightmare.

Time is your greatest enemy. You have to be back home before dark sets in. There's a lamp you can use to light your way in the forest, but it has a limited amount of fuel, and will eventually run out as the days and weeks roll by. However, you can't just stay locked up in your home. Sam has a thirst and hunger meter that he needs to fill. Bushes throughout the forest provide berries, but they only satisfy a little of his hunger. To really fill his stomach you'll need to hunt rabbit, but they usually only appear during the night, which means having to use the limited life of your lamp.

Each action requires stamina, and once it's used up you won't be able to take any actions and Sam will move slower. This really hampers him when darkness is approaching and you need to get back home. If you've forgotten to put wood on the fire when nighttime comes, you won't be able to chop wood for it if you're out of stamina, which is a guaranteed way to die overnight. In the same way, thirst will hamper you, but it's easier to fill your thirst bar. There's a pool not far from Sam's home and you have a bottle you can fill.

As the days roll by, Sam will experience auditory and visual hallucinations, hear strange knockings and even be visited by demonic entities. There's a way to survive all this, but I'd be spoiling the game if I told you how. It's got some good scares, though, so if you have an hour of time to invest, give an indie developer a try and let Snowdrift put the fear of the dark back in you.

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