Triple Town developer Spry Fox has surprised and delighted me at every turn, from their clone-attracking mobile masterpiece to browser-based strategy game Highgrounds to the completely charming co-op of Leap Day. So when the developers tell us they are crafting a moving, personal tale of love and loss within a roguelike puzzle game, I don't scoff — I sit back and wait for something magical to happen.
I can see the stirrings of it in the illustrations of Brent “Meowza” Kobayashi, previously the art director for the MMO Glitch. His whimsical and often melancholy designs set the mood for a story inspired by Robert Frost's 1916 power "The Road Not Taken." The poem's message is about making your own way, forging new paths through life.
Road Not Taken is an exploration of what happens when someone steps off the accepted life path — school work, family, death — to explore a more adventurous route through life. According to Spry Fox, it's one of the most personal games the studio's Daniel Cook has created.
It's sounds fascinating, the way they describe it — deep and moving — but wouldn't a standard point-and-click adventure game be better suited to such an undertaking?
"It's an experiment with a more pointillist approach to narrative, which we think is particularly well-served by the roguelike genre," Said Spry Fox's David Edery. "Each object, each animations, and each bit of text is a bit of paint on the canvas. Over dozens of play-throughs, a greater theme will hopefully be revealed to the player."
Road Not Taken promises hundreds of hours of adventuring through Zelda-like puzzles rooms littered with bits of story and Meowza's fanciful artwork. It's not the sort of game I'd ever have expected, the sort of strange and wonderful creature you might come across when walking unfamiliar paths.
Keep track of Road Not Taken here.