Arachnophobe alert! There be a large spider in this game.
Summit of the Wolf – First Look
Just Adventure takes an early look at Unimatrix Production’s upcoming narrative adventure and awaits the final version with anticipation
Category: First Look
Written by: Cindy Kyser on June 2, 2019
Developed by: Storycentric Worlds
Published by: Unimatrix Productions
Release Date: Spring 2020
Genre: Point-and-Click Narrative Adventure
I’ve had the privilege of spending a few hours playing a very early version of Unimatrix Production’s upcoming adventure Summit of the Wolf. The preview included about 25% of the final game and did not yet have voice-overs for character dialog.
I am delighted to report that Summit of the Wolf has the makings of a wonderful adventure. The story is multi-layered, with segments occurring in a dream/fantasy world and other segments taking place in the “real” world. The transitions between fantasy and reality are seamless and you move between the two parallel environments with ease.
The story opens with a 12-year old girl named Ophelia reading a children’s book with her father. It is a tale of a pixie on a quest in an enchanted land. After the story, she heads to bed and awakes, as a pixie, in the Garden of Eternity. She is welcomed by the Goddess Adena who tells her that she has been brought to this place to recover and heal. As part of the process, Ophelia must embark on a quest to find the legendary Summit of the Wolf. She is warned that it will be an arduous journey and is shown how to summon a white wolf to be her guide. During this early conversation, we get our first hint that all may not be well in Ophelia’s real life.
She proceeds to explore the mystical land and her path is blocked by pair of Scions. To gain safe passage, she embarks on a series of errands for the elder of the Scion village. During her travels, she spends the night in a Scion’s tent.
When Ophelia falls asleep, we are transitioned back to the real world where we find her in a hospital bed, unconscious. Discussions between the doctor and nurse provide additional suggestions that there might be more to Ophelia’s story than meets the eye.
Those who have played previous Unimatrix titles will recognize some characters. The nurse attending Ophelia is Brianna from The Filmmaker. In a nearby hospital room, we find Kate from Shady Brook. Although Summit of the Wolf is a standalone game, it’s a bonus to re-engage with familiar faces and to recall the events that changed their lives.
The game plays flawlessly and I continue to admire the Storycentric Worlds game engine. It breathes new life into the graphic text adventure genre and the interface is much more intuitive than the traditional point-and-click games of yesteryear. As an engine, it provides a framework for building a game. This allows the developer to focus on storytelling and character development rather than becoming mired in foundational coding. Plus, if you have played one of the Unimatrix titles, you will be immediately at home in any of their games.
In the lower left corner, there is a picture of the character you are playing with your location indicated. There are icons for the menu, your inventory and your journal. You can also use the “I” key to access inventory and the “J” key for the journal that recaps specific details about the story. The”M” key is used to reveal a map of all areas that have been visited.
At the lower center of the screen is a text display that provides dialog, and action descriptions such as “Travel North to Temple” or “Talk to Adena,” or “Use String with Pole.” In some cases, options are provided for you to select what you want to do or say next. Your cursor changes shape, depending on what actions are available. An eye appears when you can look at something, a conversation bubble appears when you can speak, and an arrow appears when you can travel. Navigation is accomplished by clicking on an arrow to move to the next scene. Objects are used by dragging them from the inventory screen and dropping them on the desired location.
There is a numeric point system and your score is incremented as you examine certain objects or take specific actions. This provides you with a sense of the percentage of the game you have completed thus far. The game saves on exit so there are no worries about losing progress. Three save slots are provided in case you want to start again without disturbing your existing game.
The early portions of Summit of the Wolf include a handful of varied puzzles. Each is integral to the story and all are designed to be easily worked within the point-and-click interface. Puzzles include matching sounds, playing a game with a spider, and several “action” sequences that require targeted clicking. Inventory objects are used as one would expect in the real world, so there was very little of “try this… try that…” required.
As previously noted, the preview version did not yet have voice acting implemented. This gave me a chance to really listen to the lovely sound track. I especially enjoyed the instrumental music that accompanies the fantasy segments.
Based on the preview version, I have nothing but positive things to say about Summit of the Wolf. Once again, Christopher Brendel and his team have crafted a narrative that pulls you in and I am eager to discover the entire story of Ophelia. My sense is that she will emerge triumphant and I am looking forward to future travels with her.
Special thanks to Christopher Brendel and Unimatrix Productions for allowing Just Adventure this first look. Summit of the Wolf is due out in the Spring of 2020 and can be added to your Steam wishlist. Additional information is available at the StoryCentric Worlds website http://www.storycentricworlds.com/summit_of_the_wolf.html .
No Release Trailer Yet
OS: Windows XP or later
Processor: Pentium or higher
Memory: 2 GB RAM
DirectX: Version 9.0
Storage: 4 GB available space
Sound Card: optional but highly recommended
Additional Notes: Native resolution: 1920×1080; rescales to fill screen