Epanalepsis – you’ll have more difficulty pronouncing the name than actually playing the game. This is the latest point and click games from the designer/developer Cameron Kunzelman, whose previous releases include the horror game Catachresis.
This latest point and click game is split into three chapters, which follow three characters living in the same city at different points in time. The game’s storyline spans several decades, from the 1990s to the 2010s and through to the 2030s. You’d be forgiven for describing the storyline of each chapter as mundane, as in the first two chapters all you do is carry out a series of mundane tasks. For example, in the first chapter you guide the character of Rachel, as she prepares to go to the local bar.
However, there is a deeper narrative running through Epanalepsis. Throughout the game, a mysterious pair of time-travellers come and go, guiding the characters through their separate journeys. This helps to tie the three chapters together, and provides the game with an intriguing sci-fi element.
Graphically, Epanalepsis is underwhelming. While the retro 8 bit art style has been used to much success in indie games such as Gods Will Be Watching, here the result is disappointingly bland. While sprites in the game look decent enough, the background art in many of the environments is surprisingly simplistic. This is in contrast to the music used in the game – John Fio’s neat melodies add character to this otherwise drab title. In terms of gameplay, the game does exactly what it says on the tin, with the point and click element of the game being as simple as you can get within the genre.
It’s worth pointing out that the game is remarkably short, and as a result falls short of conveying the story in one playthrough. Epanalepsis is certainly a game that should be played again and again, just in order to get a proper grasp on the interesting narrative. This brevity comes from the simplicity of the game – little skill or thought is required to complete the game, as most of the gameplay involves carrying out simple actions outlined by characters in the game.
Epanalepsis is disappointing, it fails to live up to the high standards we’ve come to expect from independent game developers in recent years. An intriguing storyline is hidden by a bland visual style and dull gameplay. Available from Steam at the price of £4.99, this game is unlikely to be enjoyed by hardened point and click fans.