Becoming an adult can be rough, with the joys and passion of our teenage years being ground down by the monotonous routine of grown-up life that can seem grey by comparison. Many of us hope for something more, for a blast from the past to sweep us up and bring back some of the old excitement, but perhaps we should be careful what we wish for. In something of a change of pace for Russian developers Ice-Pick Lodge, better known for their Pathologic series, their upcoming title Know by heart... is a low-key tale of extraordinary events in the life of an ordinary man in a provincial Russian town at the turn of the millennium.
Misha, stuck in a dead-end job, has his dull, predictable routine turned upside down when his high school crush returns out of the blue. Propelled out of his rut, he is reunited with a group of childhood friends even as they become caught up in "a brief but tumultuous episode" in the history of their otherwise quiet town. Rather than a pleasant trip down memory lane, rekindling friendships and lost love, instead they find their relationships are strained and there are hard choices to be made.
Presented in an attractive, atmospheric low-poly 3D art style, Know by heart... aims to give players a taste of life in post-Soviet Russia. To do so, the developers have built the game mechanics around Misha's thoughts and memories, including some "evocative" mini-games along the way to one of several possible endings. Throughout the game's approximately five hours of play, Ice-Pick intend to explore the lasting impact of the Soviet era as well as broader themes such as growing up, feeling time slipping away, and dealing with loss.
Though no specific date has been set just yet, Know by heart... will hopefully be launched on Steam for Windows PC sometime in mid-2021.