Été Preview: A Splash Of Color

I love a good double meaning in a title. In French, Été is the word for summer — the season of warmth, growth, and being outdoors. It is also a conjugation of être indicating something that had been, but is no longer. Swirling with implication, this game follows a painter who moves to Montreal in the height of the hotter months. My preview was awash in a kind of nostalgic charm as it pushed me to explore my new neighborhood by literally bringing color to it.

Sitting down at the game’s station and putting on the headphones, the busy world outside melted away. A vibe, both chill and delightful, permeated the small garden where I learned the painterly mechanics.

My task is to use my limited paint to imbue the grass with its lively green hue, awaken the tree with shades of brown, and perk up every inch of the lawn with vibrant enthusiasm. I went a little overboard. My demo was only thirty minutes long and I spent a lot of time in the starting area.

But everytime I brought color back to a section of the world, I gained paint drops acting as experience points. Before entering the door at the far end of this front yard, I managed to level up. This gave me the ability to drop a paint explosion that covered a large area all in an instant. Then I walked inside.

The story unfolds as I grab the keys of my new apartment. Having just moved, my landlord encourages me to sleep — something no one will ever have to tell me twice. Refreshed and restocked with my paint bomb ability, I discover the map on the wall transforms into a fast travel hub when I paint it. Before heading out though, I notice an easel, which will become important later.

Out and about in my new locale, I stumble across a cat that leads me on a wild chase through back alleys, up staircases, and behind walls. Finally catching up with it, I’m prompted to pet the purring creature. I would have tried to anyway, but I’m pleasantly surprised that this does something mechanically. Petting animals refreshes my abilities a little. So now, I’m determined to pet everything possible.

Climbing back down from the cat’s lair, I run across several neighbors that offer quests. Some of these lead me back to my easel to produce a work of art with everything I just discovered as inspiration. Sitting down at the canvas, I have an array of colorful stamps representing the objects in the world I’ve painted so far.

A giant tree stands ready to tower over my composition. A comfy bed with inviting covers is set to star in a sleepy still life. And a dozen more familiar objects line up to be artistically deployed.

Of course, my page of objects is mostly blank, hinting at how much more I have to find outside. The meditative drive to paint the world to unlock more subjects for my artworks is compelling, but the demo comes to a close before I know it. Adventure game enthusiasts should keep their eyes open for Été early next year.

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