One of the wonderful things about the indie game development is the sheer diversity it brings with it; there's something for everyone. In the case of Farnham Fables, an episodic series from Ethrea Dreams, that something includes princes who take the bus, lizard people on farms, a retro aesthetic last seen in the late ‘80s, and reading. Lots and lots of reading.
The kingdom of Farnham itself is a diverse place, full of the aforementioned anthropomorphic lizards, rat folk and even, on occasion, humans. Unlike most fantasy kingdoms, though, it also features TV and public transport. In the series' first episode, Cally, the daughter of one of the King's guardsmen, is super-excited when her aunt Naigye agrees to take her to visit the castle. Naughty Cally sneaks off and runs into the King, but rather than being annoyed he takes her and Naigye back to the throne room, sits them down and tells them the story of the time he fell ill and his sons went to visit the lizard village in search of a cure, which is then played out in flashback. Each new episode will be a self-contained story, involving the people of Farnham and occasionally beyond, ranging from small, personal events to "grand adventures".
We cover quite a few retro-inspired games here, but few that are such a blast from the past as this one. More of an interactive storybook than a traditional point-and-click adventure, the tale is told primarily through a text pane at the bottom of the screen, with static illustrations above and a verb list on the left. Everything that happens is described in the gentle style of a children's story, and the game promises that every action you can take will get a unique response. The pictures are simple cartoons, all flat colours and limited shading reminiscent of a late-period text adventure, accompanied by a jaunty MIDI soundtrack.
The first (Windows-only) episode of Farnham Fables, entitled The King's Medicine, is available now through the developer's website and Steam. The second episode is due as early as next month..