Those of you who were hoping for a game based around the life of Star Trek captain and Wonder Woman love interest Chris Pine are going to be sorely disappointed, and then pleasantly surprised, with Pine. This Kickstarter campaign launched just as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Horizons: Zero Dawn landed on shelves, reinvigorating the open world adventure genre, and leaving gamers ready to embark on another big quest. Pine limits its open world by setting it on an island, a smart design choice for an indie open world game, but more intriguingly, it asks the question, “What if man never made it to the top of the food chain?”
Let’s find out!
Genre: Open World Adventure
Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Funding Target: €100,000 (approx. $107,700)
What Is It?
Pine takes aspects of other games and makes them feel original again, ultimately resulting in a game that looks like more than the sum of its parts. The Zelda inspirations are clear as day, sharing many similarities to the recent Breath of the Wild, despite it only having been released this month. It borrows combat elements from Shadow of Mordor and Bloodborne, but Pine also brings forward the stylistic feel of classic PC game Myst, with its island setting and puzzle solving that promises to resolve the mysteries of why man has not evolved to be the dominant species.
Players take control of Hue, a smart young adult on the island of Albamare, where other animals have developed at a same rate as us simians, with their own language and culture. In parallel to Horizon: Zero Dawn, the human’s territory becomes endangered, and Hue is forced into The Out, an area beyond their remote forest village.
Why Fund It?
Pine will be the second game from Dutch studio Twirlbound. Its first, the iOS puzzler With the Wind, was released in 2015. This is a far more ambitious endeavour, which explains the target goal of €100,000 (though bringing it to consoles will require quite a bit more money).
The main draw, and the aspect that certainly piqued my interest, was the promise of an ecosystem that reacts to your choices, or inaction if you choose to do nothing. The different animals are part of that ecology, and react as such. This is not No Man’s Sky where all the animals seemed to plod about together. These beings have territories to defend and motivations to go after, which you can watch as you idle through their world. My favourite is the evolved fox race known as the Fexel, if only for its brilliant bushy tail. Hue can also befriend certain species and trade with them as he embarks on his quest to uncover the mysteries of Albamare.
The island and its inhabitants look beautiful thanks to the Unity engine, with gorgeous cartoon-like graphics that feel inspired by earlier Zelda entries. What really makes the game spark is the soundtrack by Ratchet Audio. It has harmonious echoes of John Williams mixed with Howard Shore’s work on The Hobbit, and the snippets available to listen to are some of the most pleasant fantasy scores I have heard.
- Digital copy of the game, plus your name on website and in game credits – €19
- Previous rewards, plus digital map of Albamare, and digital soundtrack – €29
- Previous rewards, plus unique outfit for Hue, alternative skins, and beta access – €39
- Previous rewards, plus digital art book, Pine sticker sheet, and official t-shirt – €85
- Previous rewards, plus an extra copy of everything – €139
- Previous rewards, plus printed map, printed art book, and 3D statue of Hue – €350
Until Next Time…
Explore the land of Albamare and hopefully you will fall in love with it as I did. With an initial delivery date of November 2018, that gives me 18 months to try and finish Breath of the Wild.