North-western United States must be a weird place to live. First there were “granite” vampires and werewolves that had a body temperature of 105 degrees, then there was a nymphomaniac CEO taking advantage of a young woman who has no idea how sex works, and then there was Arcadia.
Arcadia Bay is a town steeped in high school-level photography and missing persons posters. A girl by the name of Max Caulfield revisits this town after going away for four years to Seattle. She comes back in pursuit of a famous photography teacher with an appealing face and average sense of humour (which of course seems hilarious because of his apparent charm). Meeting her are the norms of a high school environment: jerks upon jerks upon nice people.
This first chapter introduces the main characters of the game, Max included, and her extraordinary power to reverse time. She retains any knowledge or items gained in the course of her rewinding of time, so she can perfectly answer her attractive teacher or impress rude nerdy people.
The game plays like a Telltale game, in that your main purpose is to move around and click on things in a timed fashion. The choices you make in the game have consequences in the later chapters, to be released in succession every few months or so.
Indie music and typical teenage angst beat at each other in an effective, beautiful way, expressing what Max must be going through in her 18th year of life. She is a perceiver, and as such, there is much to look at in this world. Appetizing, if not cartoon-y, faces and natural habitat give this game the feel of a well-loved but hardly known storybook and that is precisely what I love about it.
End of the Week
The setup of the story has made me very curious about how things turn out. There are mentions of a Vortex Club and Max daydreams of a large hurricane (called a tornado on the water in game for some reason) which gives me a clue as to where it is going, but events so far have been just outside of predictability. If you love “sad guy with a guitar” music, high school settings and friend-feels, this is a great game to pick up.