Earlier this week, Lewis Denby and Ashton Raze very kindly sent me an alpha build of their debut game, Richard & Alice.
The guys, along with Kyra Hills (character art) and Yonatan Luria (music) have been working on this project in their spare time, and although this is early code, their debut offering is looking very promising.
In the 30 or so minutes it takes to explore this point and click adventure, a genuinely interesting plot begins to unfold.
Set in a world which has been devastated by intolerably harsh weather conditions, Richard is a grizzled war veteran who has been imprisoned since he disobeyed orders in the madness of a bloody civil war. While in his cell, he unexpectedly meets Alice, who has recently been jailed for murder and via a series of well-told flashbacks, we get a glimpse into her background story.
The point and click interface could well change in further updates, but what's here at the moment works well. There's no stuffy inventory system to wade through, with everything clearly mapped out on the right-hand side of the screen. Every item's relevance in the environment is logical and by eschewing overly complicated item combos, Lewis and Ashton allow the player to make quick progress and concentrate on the intriguing story.
The team have peppered the alpha build with wonderful teasers which draw the player into Richard and Alice's weather-ravaged world. Who scribbled the mysterious notes found in a long-abandoned house? Who is the oppressive figure trying to keep Alice and her son under lock and key? And whose blood is it that's splattered over the walls of a family bathroom?
Richard & Alice is penciled in for release later this year and thanks to its well-written dialogue and compelling storyline, I'm very much looking forward to seeing more of this extremely promising game.
To keep up to date with Richard & Alice's development, head over to the game's website where the team will keep you updated. Definitely one to watch.