Many of us have come to depend totally on our smartphones these days. Everything's on there, from contacts to calendars, messages to music, pictures to puzzle games. Losing one would be a disaster, but that's just what's happens to poor Sam in A Normal Lost Phone, the debut title from French indie developers Accidental Queens. Billed as a "narrative mystery game" and taking inspiration from Her Story, Life is Strange and Gone Home, it uses a unique interface to connect you to Sam's world and encourage you to explore.
Finding a phone lying in the street one day, curiosity gets the better of you. It wouldn't hurt to take a look, would it? Maybe you rationalise it as a way to find out how to return the device, but Sam's whole life is there in front of you, begging to be investigated. Who is this person, and what's happened to them? Depending on your viewpoint, it's either an interesting chance to look through someone else's eyes or a complete invasion of privacy.
The phone is not just the main thing here, it's everything: you're simply presented with its home screen and left to poke around. All the usual suspects are there, including text messages, photos and apps, and you'll need to search through them all if you want to piece together the sequence of events that led up to it parting ways with its owner. While there are some puzzles to solve as well, the focus is on the story, which touches on topics such as coming of age, homophobia, depression and peer pressure. The project began life as a prototype at the 2016 Global Game Jam, which went on to win the Best Indie Game award at Game Connection Europe. For this version, the developers promise new puzzles and apps, more narrative and more polished graphics.
A Normal Lost Phone will drop on the 26th of January, 2017, for iOS, Android, and Windows PC,with Mac and Linux versions coming as well. For obvious reasons, though, the developers recommend playing one of the mobile versions if you can. If you're curious to delve deeper, check out the official website to learn more.