LudoNarraCon 2022 – Five memorable narrative games we played during the convention

Gare – Tuesday, May 10, 2022 4:05 PM
Share on

It’s 2022, and our love for story-focused games has once again brought us back to the lovely LudoNarraCon, a convention with the noble goal of celebrating narrative games and the creative minds that, well, create them. Like last year, we sampled the convention’s fascinating lineup of games and had a grand old time exploring their stories and characters – so now, we’re back here, eager to talk to you about them. Without further ado, here are our favorite titles from LudoNarraCon 2022:

Magin: The Rat Project Stories

Set in a haunting dark fantasy world, Magin: The Rat Project Stories immediately caught my attention with its unique blend of point & click adventure basics, intriguing, narrative-shaping choices and a solid foundation based on card battler mechanics. Sporting vibrant comic books aesthetics, Magin places you in the role of Tolen, a young boy with mysterious powers who, at least in the demo, ventures out of the relative safety of his home to look for his mother, with varying levels of success. What I particularly enjoyed about the project is how Tolen’s emotional state can drift in two wildly different directions, which is connected to both the card-based, deck-building combat system, as well as the various narrative choices, including how the story unfolds. And let me tell you, it does unfold in some truly unexpected ways, if the conclusion of the demo is any indication – Magin gave me a very engaging and atmospheric slice of its adventure, and I can’t wait to see more.

Card Shark

I’ll just go ahead and say it – Card Shark is an absolute gem of a game. Focused on the ancient art of… well… cheating at cards, it follows a young mute man who accompanies a gentleman to help him win. I’d rather no go into spoilers too much, but let’s just say things escalate pretty fast and the narrative takes an unexpected turn – what I can say, however, is that the core of Card Shark – that is, the cheating – is absolutely thrilling and does require some genuine skill from the player. For example, during the tutorial segment, you’re tasked with having a peek at your opponent’s cards while pretending you’re simply pouring a cup of wine for him. Needless to say, the player is the one expected to pull this off with some good ol’ hand-eye coordination: you’ll actually have to memorize the cards you see upon peeking, all the while keeping the pouring going without accidentally overfilling the cup and thus blowing your act. Then you signal back to your partner in crime with a set of specific gestures, all of which need to be properly memorized as well. It’s simple, but absolutely thrilling, which is what cemented Card Shark in my mind as a game that’s both ingenious and entertaining in equal measure.

Arctic Awakening

Arctic Awakening is more of a „traditional” first-person narrative adventure, but it still adds its own unique flavor to the formula. The story kicks off in the relatively distant future – the 2060s, to be specific – where our protagonist ends up having to perform an emergency landing with his plane when disaster unexpectedly strikes. Thankfully, he survives the crash, but the plane itself is ruined, his partner is far away, and he’s surrounded by a snow-laden wilderness teeming with who knows what. He does, however, have a sassy floating robot for company, whose comments and somewhat comical appearance do manage to smuggle bits of comedic relief to an otherwise serious situation; you’re also remotely communicating with your partner, which slowly but surely sheds some light on the relationships and backstories of the characters. It’s all good stuff, basically.

Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly

A cozy narrative game with a unique, coffee-flavored twist, Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly seem like an average barista simulator at first glance, but there’s a lot more to it than that. For starters, it takes place in a universe where people live side by side with fantastical, supernatural races such as banshees and satyrs, which obviously adds an endlessly fascinating twist to the whole thing. Despite all that, Coffee Talk oozes a sense of modern familiarity, from the social media app on your phone to the way the characters talk and use lingo, it all just feels natural, despite the obviously supernatural/unnatural elements. As for my first impressions: it’s a game about unusual but nonetheless relatable characters sharing their everyday problems with a barista, whose perspective helps untangle how these wildly different lives connect with each other. I had a good time with the demo, even if it made me woefully aware of just how dreadful I am at making latte art.

Minds Beneath Us

Let’s just say I’m very glad I didn’t do any preliminary research on Minds Beneath Us, and instead simply jumped into its demo blind. Because boy was it full of surprises. The demo starts off in a bit of an in medias res situation, and admittedly I found myself confused for a while… until the characters started talking and slowly unfurling the various mysteries. I particularly enjoyed how the narrative and the characters’ attitude toward each other changed depending on your dialogue choices, and that you could indeed mess things up for yourself. And then the game sort of… completely pulls the rug from under you. In a good way, I mean. Minds Beneath Us feels like science fiction done right, and if you want something bold and interesting, do absolutely check it out.

If you liked this article, follow us on our channels below and/or register!