A picture is worth a thousand words. This seems to be the motto of Swedish indie developer Space Fox Studio for their successfully crowdfunded point-and-click game Lona: Realm of Colors, coming next summer to PC and mobile devices.
Lona tasks players with delving into the troubled life of the titular young woman, who tries to deal with her personal trials and tribulations by drawing about them. It promises to be a somber exploration of a person’s inner turmoil, and advancing through each scene in the game means uncovering the truth behind a torment Lona has dealt with in her life, and helping her to make peace with it.
More than just a narrative device, Lona’s predisposition toward drawing influences all design decisions, as the scenes she draws are the actual settings she finds herself lost in during gameplay. To remove even the smallest barrier between the player and art, genre staples like an inventory system and on-screen interface have been removed entirely. Instead, point-and-click controls are used to interact directly with key objects in each scene, allowing players to piece together what happened to the protagonist.
Each of the game’s fifteen scenes will be represented in two diverging styles. Viewed through the eyes of Lona’s two animal companions, each level features two starkly contrasting versions of the same setting: a dark and logical iteration depicts the perspective of Mr. Ruppel, the crow, while a completely surrealistic and chaotic adaptation of the same scene comes courtesy of the cat, Ms. Schmidt. As you attempt to puzzle out the event Lona is recreating, you will be able to switch freely from one perspective to the other, interacting with both versions of the same scene simultaneously. In fact, some puzzles will require an object to be interacted with in one perspective, then pulled into the scene’s alternate version to cause a desired effect there. This crossover mechanic represents Lona’s struggle to find harmony between various interpretations of events in her memory.
The game’s colorful and stylized hand-drawn art style is certainly a highlight, but it will also be complemented by a sensuous, ethereal soundtrack. Each individual scene has a unique musical track composed for it, reworked into two versions to go in tandem with the dual-world theme. The developer’s goal is for Lona to marry its graphics and soundtrack to immerse players in a world that’s equal parts adventure game and artistic experience.
Space Fox currently has their sights set on an August 2018 release, with initial focus on Windows, Mac, and Linux versions, though meeting one of the Kickstarter campaign stretch goals means that it will also be ported to iOS and Android devices. More information and updates during the development process can be found at the game’s official website.