Explore a surreal dreamscape with your robot gal pal in Cradle
Sometimes game developers get a little too ambitious for their own good. Flying Cafe for Semianimals' Cradle was originally slated for a Spring 2012 release date. Arriving only three years late to its own party, this surreal first-person adventure is finally hitting Steam.
Cradle puts you in the shoes of a nameless protagonist whose fate is inexplicably tied to a mechanical girl named Ida. Ida isn't doing so hot, however, and needs your help to replace a few of her missing parts. Taking shelter in a yurt among Mongolia's desert hills, the two of you must work together to restore her functions and unravel a tangled mystery surrounding a nearby abandoned entertainment park.
The gameplay is equal parts exploration and puzzle-solving. With complete freedom of movement, you can trek through the surrounding areas, all of which, according to the developers, "[have] no fences you cannot overcome." With no corners cut on its design, the environment is beautifully rendered and specifically created to entice the imagination with dreamlike qualities. While searching these areas for parts, you'll run into all sorts of unique interactive objects scattered throughout the landscape that creative players will be able to put to good use.
The hills are populated by a cast of mechanical NPC's whose rich dialogues slowly reveal the expansive plot. Each character features an electronic visor that displays footage of an actual human actor's eyes. The developers describe this uncanny addition as "non-standard emotion display technology." Creepy? Sorta. Cool? Very.
When you're not questing or chatting up NPC's, you'll have time to play through a host of dynamic minigames. These puzzles utilize special blocks with varying properties, creating platforming mazes for you to navigate and overcome.
Set to the tune of an enchanting 90-minute soundtrack, Cradle aims to "deliver the player a specific emotional experience," charged with anticipation, mystery, and a whole lot of heart.
Cradle will (finally) be available through Steam on July 24.