The Aggie Awards – The Best Adventure Games of 2020 page 13
Best Sound Effects: Creaks
If you’re going to name your game Creaks, you’d better be prepared to deliver in the audio department. Of course, with two previous Aggie awards in this very category, Amanita Design knows full well how powerfully atmospheric the right sound effects can be. Their latest idiosyncratically adorable puzzle-adventure takes place in an enormous, rickety wooden building inhabited by bird people. It's old, dilapidated and, yes, creaky. But it also sways in the whistling wind as water drips echo into the giant cavern in which it’s set, all overlaid with the protagonist's shuffling footfall. Where most games set the mood with background music, Creaks saves its music for special occasions, when it's all the more startling and memorable, and otherwise just lets its environment sing.
Everything about the world of Creaks is lovingly crafted and exquisitely detailed, but perhaps no more so than its sound design. Walk past some frying pans and you'll hear the ring of cast iron. Move from wooden boards onto a pile of discarded shirts and you'll notice your steps are slightly muffled. Every last carefully realized thump, squeak and tinkle builds believability, helping to ground this fantastical place in a surprising degree of reality. You can feel gears grind and chains clank, and empathize with the protagonist's little "oof!" as the wind is knocked out of him by a fall. If there really were a wooden bird castle hidden under your bedroom, this is exactly what it would sound like, and that's why Creaks earns the Czech indie studio a richly deserved third Aggie for Best Sound Effects.
Dark Fall: Ghost Vigil
Someday You’ll Return
Readers’ Choice: Call of the Sea
In Call of the Sea, Norah Everhart is searching for her husband, who disappeared while on an expedition to a mysterious Polynesian island. She arrives to find a lush tropical landscape accentuated by an equally succulent soundscape. As Norah roams the exotic flower-lined paths, you’ll hear the roar of a rocky stream and a plummeting waterfall. Birds bicker in a mangrove swamp, and lorikeets chirp above shimmering puddles in the sand. Underwater scenes slosh and burble as Norah swims, and eerie musical tones respond to the push of buttons in an elaborate coral reef puzzle cave. More gadgets are heard from as well, as a fan in the encampment clicks and whirs, while the scraping of wood and grinding of stone fills the air when Norah interacts with colorful ancient contraptions. Elsewhere, the wind howls and thunder crashes as she winds her way past an abandoned ship, desperately seeking her lost love. And so another game whose very title screams out for superb sound effects is the readers’ Aggie winner this year.
Beyond a Steel Sky
Next up: The Silver Aggies... the envelope, please!