Learning a new language is never easy. And most of us probably wouldn't consider it "fun" in the traditional sense. But the indie Danish sister/brother team of Sascha and Simon Altschuler at Tideshell Studio hopes to make mastering a brand new language a central part of an entertaining adventure experience in the upcoming Noon's Journey.
Noon is a girl who lives in the small village of Khappirus, where they fish for deep sea creatures using a kind of small submarine. There her grandmother warns everyone of a disastrous wave coming, but her concerns are dismissed as the rantings of a crazy old lady. One day, Noon and her submersible inadvertently become swept up in the underbelly of a floating city made of driftwood, which passes by occasionally as the currents dictate. Though the inhabitants of The Drifting City speak another language, Noon soon learns that her grandmother's warning might just be true after all, and that "she has the only object that can save her village from the wave, the mythical Tideshell." In order to make her way home before it's destroyed, she'll need to learn the language of Drift and journey "far and wide," overcoming a variety of obstacles along the way.
Noon's Journey (which is just a working title for now) is presented in a colourful hand-drawn cartoon art style, as displayed in the early screenshots and prototype video footage released. Players will venture to such places as a "collection of towers that stand in a 1000-year-old, neverending thunderstorm in the middle of the ocean" and a "strange dried out lake in the middle of a desert." The developers claim that this world is "rooted more in reality than in fantasy but with a few 'magical/surreal' twists here and there." The aim is to provide a serious story overall with a "lighthearted feel with lots of quirky characters and dialogues."
Players can expect to engage in typical adventure fare like collecting inventory and solving puzzles to progress, but you will also need to learn the patchwork language of Drift. Fortunately, as an artist you have a handy sketchpad to assist you. With tongue firmly in cheek, the Altschulers claim they are aiming to get "as close as possible to how you would go about learning a language in the real world, but at the same time keeping it less tedious than practicing verb conjugations in Spanish class." You'll also have access to a unique seashell whose "insides seem to be almost infinite," allowing you to "empty out whole lakes of water or fill up a room."
There is still much work to be done, and the siblings plan to launch a Kickstarter campaign at some point to help finance production. They're currently eyeing a 2020 or even 2021 release on Windows and Mac, with a tablet version to follow, but for now you can follow the progress of Noon's Journey through the developer's blog.