Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Indie Impressions - A House of Many Doors

A House of Many Doors

Available Now on Steam

Developed by Pixel Trickery 


The negative thoughts we have build up in our minds. They weigh heavily on our conscious and given enough time alter your personality, and your memories. In the dark underworld of A House of Many Doors, these negative thoughts come in the form of a physical disturbance. In the form of  a frightening parasitic world where your very memories can be stolen, destroying what makes you, you.

Your journey starts as one of these unfortunate plundered minds. A leader to a group of scavengers and keeper of one of the coveted keys to the doors of The House, you learn your memory has been stolen by one of the many groups of mind thieves who scour the wastelands. In order to act as an effective leader, you'll need your memories back and so you take off in search of the bandits. Finding this box of memories and reclaiming it is only the beginning, however, as it turns out to be only a small part of a much larger and ominous plot that sends you off into the world in search of answers.

The world is constantly living and moving around you through the tales told in every interaction. Talking to crew members while on the map opens many personal quests and stories for your crew members, from cynical skeptics who think they've seen everything of worth to a booze-hound surgeon with rumors of occultist organ harvesting. Each member has their own set of dialogue trees, their own varied personalities, and own ways of effecting the story based on the answers and reactions you give them. The inhabitants of the towns you visit also carry unique stories to either ignore or become a part of, and for the more dastardly of wanderers can even be taken prisoner for your future endeavors and profits.

As you whisk yourself from each sprawling and crumbling monument or town, you and your crew navigate the darkness of the overworld in your mechanical centipede-like locomotive. Your creaking mass of Steampunk looking steel crawls between each section of the map as various debris and relics litter each field, and sometimes memory-hunters or grotesque creatures appear to search you out. And in some cases depending on the quests you are given, you will search these foes out for answers or rewards. Coming into contact with one of these aggressive elements on the map sends you into a tactical battle, turn-based and addictive not unlike FTL. You'll go head-to-head with other kinetopedes utilizing the skills of your crew members, protecting vulnerable and important sections, and facing off with your accumulated and equipped arsenal.

The stories are decided through Choose-Your-Own-Adventure style branching choices in dialogue and events. Each choice provides your adventure with specific outcomes tailored to the personality and decisions you've given and made for yourself. Every outcome has its own consequences and even your sanity can take it's toll on your perception of the world, or sometimes if you're lucky or witty enough rewards are to be earned. Within a single sitting I had lost crew members to dark possessions that drove them to their suicides, taken human passengers as captives for profits from slave traders, and had romantic relations with questionable entities such as a shark dude and even an oil-rig. I could go on and on about the many strange, sometimes humorous and always creative adventures I had been a part of but it would only spoil the beautiful tale-crafting that makes up the core of A House of Many Doors.

I was up all night, sleeplessly weaving and being a part of extraordinary tales. By the end of my trek, which is still churning on somewhere in the game's world for when I return, I had ferried so many strange and colorful passengers with such odd and extraordinary pasts and personalities. I had accumulated a mass of the oddest items from occultist tools to otherworldly relics. Even better, I had a museum built in my name to keep all of my obscure and otherworldly findings in, encouraging me to search the most mysterious places possible. I had seen and learned so much, yet the inner-working of this dark underworld where parasites feed from the energy of other dimensions mostly remained a mystery still to someday be discovered.

Such limitless imagination, and from the mind of one sole developer. The world has its own dreamed up calendar system, its own social hierarchies, and a world map filled with incredibly diverse and awe-inspiring regions that change location with any playthrough. The art is outstanding, music is melodic and memorable, the tactical combat is addictive, and most of all the stories crafted by your adventure will worm their way through your mind when not even playing as infectiously as the parasites within. It's a game every lover of tales will come back to, remember and think about for a long time.

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