American Arcadia, the tried and tested of the new indie by the authors of Call of the Sea from the Tribeca Festival

American Arcadia, the tried and tested of the new indie by the authors of Call of the Sea from the Tribeca Festival

American Arcadia

It is true, E3 is perhaps a distant memory and this year the second week of June was less full of announcements than usual, however it is always here that the large companies in the sector concentrate their communication, organizing a series of conferences. during which independent video games often end up in the background. While the attention of the onlookers was polarized on the big announcements of the moment, the Tribeca Film Festival took care of highlighting a small circle of extremely interesting independent experiences, protagonists of some demos we had access to in recent days.

Among the various proposals of the Tribeca Selection, we had the opportunity to try American Arcadia, the title developed by Out of the Blue Games and announced for the first time during the live broadcast of the Summer Game Fest 2022. The game had appeared with another trailer also at the Future Game Show, and after seeing it in action in a couple of occasions we were able to immerse ourselves in this colorful retro-futurist dystopia thanks to a 25-minute demo that highlighted some of the qualities of the work made by the Spanish studio. Here is everything you can expect from American Arcadia.

The 70s meet The Truman Show

Trevor's workplace, moments before his life get upset It's hard to describe the new title from the writers of Call of the Sea with just one adjective, as American Arcadia expertly mixes two polar opposite genres in the same story-driven single-player adventure. We are in a western metropolis apparently frozen in the 70s, whose inhabitants are, however, the unsuspecting protagonists of an Orwellian reality show in which whoever is eliminated from the television program is also eliminated in real life.

One fine day, just when he discovers that his desk mate has been sent abroad for a vacation from which he will never return, the anonymous company employee Trevor Hills is involved in a daring escape from Angela, who wants to make him escape from the dome where the reality show is set to save his life.

From these narrative premises an adventure will develop in which we will play both roles of the story, changing perspective from time to time according to the needs of the action. As Trevor, American Arcadia is a 2.5D scrolling platformer filled with environmental puzzles, while at the control of Angela the game transforms into a 3D experience that includes stealth, hacking and lots of puzzles.

The demo, which corresponds to the beginning of the game, introduces the player to all the mechanisms of this peculiar dualism, and we are not afraid to admit that from the very beginning the idea concretized by Out of the Blue Games was immediately able to be appreciated.

Single-player co-op

A first-person game sequence in the role of Angela The opening lines of the demo are dedicated to Trevor who, following the instructions of the mysterious Angela, leaves her workplace to discover that in reality the whole structure is nothing more than a huge TV set. At this juncture we learn the fundamentals of the control system of the platform phases, in which our protagonist jumps, runs and moves the boxes in a very immediate and not complex way.

After solving an environmental puzzle and clearing the passage to freedom, Trevor found himself in a dead end and that's where we moved on to manage Angela. At first it was necessary to hack the cameras in her office to prevent it from being intercepted by the organizers of the show, while later we had to search for the access code to the server room in order to guarantee control of the electronic systems of the building. .

Both in the platform and in the first person stages, the puzzles never proved too complex and our feeling is that the development team did not want to make them too cerebral to favor the rhythm of the story. but there is in any case the possibility that later in the game these become more structured, managing to put the player in serious difficulty. After this juncture in the role of Angela, we witnessed a section of gameplay in which the two characters finally began to collaborate in unison: we could move Trevor with the lower part of the controller, while with the backbones and the triggers we were able to govern all electronic devices nearby. While the employee fled, Angela cleared the passage for his escape, during an intense platforming section culminating in a thrilling walk on a crane suspended in the void.

Trevor's daring escape over the roofs of the city ​​Now, if during the environmental puzzles managing Trevor and Angela's electronic violations at the same time had not proved a problem, during the escape the strong complexity of the control system led us to the game over on more than one occasion, thanks to the little reactivity of the commands which, however, can be attributed to the modalities of the test. In the most excited phases of the demo, then, we didn't often have the material time to study a hacking strategy while we were busy making Trevor survive, and the "trial & error" that followed inevitably ended up breaking the pleasant sense. of involvement that we had felt up to that point. American Arcadia does not yet have a release date and the studio has all the time in the world to polish these angularities, but all in all we feel optimistic about a production that first of all has the merit of proposing an original and great formula. interest.

It is no coincidence that in the great group of independent video games to be released in the near future, American Arcadia has been selected among the playful proposals of the Tribeca Film Festival. The Out of the Blue Games title brings an unprecedented gameplay recipe to the table, combining different playstyles into one fun experience that we can't wait to learn more about. For the moment we have recorded a couple of unknowns about the control system of the two protagonists, but the game does not yet have a release date and the studio will be able to focus on the feedback coming from the demo without any pressure. Until then, they will have all our confidence.


The idea behind the game is fresh and original The story starts off on the right foot and has a good intensity The puzzles fit together good with the flow of the action DOUBT The control system is quite edgy It is not always easy to manage both protagonists at the same time Have you noticed any errors?

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