Alone in the Park is an adventure game woven with a layer of narrative that walks the line between dark and amusing delicately, never overstepping it’s self set boundaries. It’s a point and click exploration adventure game, framed inside someone’s self narrated notebook ramblings and observations. Half of the page is a journal chronicling all of your interactions, the other half is either your map (featuring a dotted line plotting your journey through the world) or a zoomed in environment you’ve entered and can interact with by either talking to people or dropping inventory items onto areas of interest. It has a brilliant, if slightly twisted, sense of humour and has some very memorably crafted characters that make it’s world one that I easily found myself immersed and invested in.

(The above trailer, particularly it’s soundtrack, should give you a good idea of the games style of humour)
The game follows the story of a gamer, social recluse and generally antisocial shut in. This is the kind of gamer that would rather interact with NPC’s than have to talk to actual human beings in any fashion. However, the game opens with a mysterious note telling you to head out to a national park in search of fragments of a map that promises treasure hidden somewhere in the wilderness. Given the promise of a real life adventure game to take on, your character makes their way out into the world, ready to deal with the myriad of people standing between them and their goal.

The majority of your interaction in the world is fairly traditional point and click adventure questing. You have an inventory of items to combine and use to progress, NPC’s with quests that you won’t be able to satisfy for a good chunk of the game and lots of information to recall later. It’s fairly predictable in terms of it’s formula, but each of the individual tasks has a sense of unexpected humour. It tasks you with things that make sense in the narrative context, but would feel completely out of place within any other game.

The best writing in the game is when the  characters interact with each other. Be it the clever references to the fact this is a video game about someone going out into the world rather than playing yet another adventure game, to the clever spins on well known but underemployed character archetypes, the whole game revels in the irony of the games entire concept and the fact that the people in the game are NPC’s, meant to be real people you’re forced to deal with rather than playing more games filled with NPCs. Yes it’s confusing, but in context it creates a wonderful world full of deliberately two dimensional characters that still manage to be endeering and memorable despite how clearly they’re NPC’s.

The games sense of humour will not be for everyone. Alone in the Park’s humour is often a very blunt, direct form of satire that certainly won’t work for everyone. What I personally enjoyed as a fan of stories like the “A Series of Unfortunate Events” books is that, while brutally to the point at times, it does manage to balance this against the carefree joy and whimsy of traditional lighthearted adventure games.
I’ve no idea how the developer managed it, but I found the two to be balanced really well and, more suprisingly, gel really well when used in tandem.

The game is about five hours long in total but very much deserved a second playthrough just based on the brilliant reveal in its conclusion, which ties very nicely into the games opening as well as aspects of your second playthrough, adding a completely different tone to your quest.

Wrap Up

Ultimately, Alone in the Park is not going to be for everyone, but if you’re an adventure game lover and you get on well with the games sense of humour, you’re going to find that there’s a lot for you to enjoy here. A lot of my enjoyment came down to the humour being a perfect fit for my personal tastes, but if you’re not a fan of blunt and direct satire with dark overtones then the game won’t be your cup of tea.

score of 8

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About The Author

Founding Member

Laura’s gaming journey began in the 90′s when she was given a SNES by her older brother with Mario paint. From that day video games were all she thought about day or night, be it playing them, designing them, discussing them or writing about them. Why does she want to write about indie games? Because indie devs are awesome and she wants to be their new best friend by telling them how terrible their games are. That’s how it works right? Twitter: @LauraKBuzz Email: Laurak@indiehaven.com

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