Simpler Times Preview: Room With A View

Walking away from Simpler Times, my spirits were lighter and my hands fuller. Apparently, I impressed the developers with my single-minded dedication to crossing objectives off my list. My prize? A legitimate cassette tape with two songs from the game’s soundtrack. I can’t for the life of me think of a way to play it, but the souvenir of my time with the preview is fittingly wistful.

In my short hands-on with Stoneskip’s sentimental exploration of time, I play as Taina, a young women on the verge of moving away from the life she’s always known. The game’s director, Dragos Matkovski, is very clear on what kind of game Simpler Times is. The action revolves around packing up my belongings, and takes place all in the same room — albeit during different times in my life.

Matkovski acknowledges this is not a game for all audiences, inisting, however, that players that enjoy this kind of meditative and thoughtful adventure will absolutely love it. The notion is something I admire about indie games in general.

With such a breadth of content, it’s possible to find something that sings in your soul like nothing else. Simpler Times’ creators hope to offer this kind of experience for those that resonate with its pensive beauty.

My fledgling steps into the aventure teaches me to interact with the objects around me, which was a mistake. I spend more than a few minutes appreciating the ragdoll physics by flinging around a beloved childhood octopus doll and watching the tentacles flounder around.

But the devs don’t seem to mind, letting me flail around to my hearts content before I shift my attention to the objective: Packing. My room is filled with boxes, each with lists of what to put in them. I grab memories, useful objects, and everything in between from their places in familiar surrounding to bring with me.

Actually getting everything into its designated box could be a bit tricky, but the game is in early development and I hope to see this smoothed out before launch. While searching for these indispensable items, I observe a room filled with history. Scribbles, scuffs, pictures, I’m certain all have a story.

Sadly, I don’t get to examine all of these just yet. My Simpler Times preview is more like a tutorial, focusing on teaching me the basics rather than unfolding the story. I end this introductory scene by changing the currently playing record. While that means ending the demo now, in the future, it will trigger the next chapter, which I hope to see soon.

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