Steve Johanson has disappeared and his girlfriend Sally Franklin has hired your detective agency to locate him. Even before you get on the scene there are signs that maybe this isn't just a simple missing persons case. Can you crack it? Explore Anteform Valley and its settlements, talk to its residents, search desks and files, and build up your skills as you collect clues to figure out what really happened to Steve and maybe even prevent it from happening again.
This is a sci-fi / horror detective story RPG in the style of the old-school 8-bit Ultima games as they were found on the C128. I hope you enjoy it.
It exhausts many of the resources available to a PICO-8 app, and required minimization before it could be converted into a cartridge (in fact this version fits with just one byte to spare). The full source of Anteform is available on GitHub for anyone interested in how it works. I have also provided a manual for it in a couple of formats, so you may want to grab and peruse the Anteform manual as a PDF or the Anteform manual as an ePub as well as the cartridge itself. Downloadable binaries are also available on the Itch.io Anteform page.
If you have any comments, questions, or even just random thoughts related to it, I'll be happy to listen. As this is a mystery story though please be mindful of ruining the fun for others and avoid posting spoilers. I have played all the way through and do not know of any bugs in this version (1.0) but I could have easily missed some.
This game was built using the Minima Engine, and if you like it you may like Minima (play online or download) as well. Both use the same interface and share some of the same graphics but have completely different stories, settings, and characters. They're also different genres played at a different scale. Minima is a traditional RPG set on a full world with castles and towns; this game is set in Anteform Valley with villages and individual buildings. This game places more emphasis on finding clues either by talking with people or searching through things. There's no magic in it, but it is in the weird mystery genre and so things aren't quite what they appear in the beginning, either...
Wow - great job on this! You crammed an entire Ultima like experience into the PICO-8 limitations which is no small feat. Well done.
It took me a while to figure out that I wasn't searching when I was examining, but other than that, the game's UI was pretty solid. Loved how the world opens up with more places to go when you get the boat - that was always a fun part of the original Ultima series. You even got dungeons in there, which was impressive! Overall, quite solid and enjoyable.
Thanks! I'm glad you like it. I focused a lot more on the story in this one. Without going into any details so as to avoid spoilers for folks who've not yet played, there's a bit of a balancing act in it between being a fully open world and pacing out a linear story that's quite a bit different from my earlier game.
You're the second one to mention the searching / examining thing. I wish I could make it better, but I'm not sure how; do you have any ideas on how I could have made it more obvious? It's in the manual, the help screen, and even one of the animated GIF samples. I've literally got no bytes left in the game itself and so can't readily add something like "(again to search)" to the prompt.
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