Old-school point-and-click adventure games have been on and off, but despite it all, indie developer Wadjet Eye remains unwavering. With games like Unavowed, Technobabylon, Gemini Rue, and the Blackwell series, Dave Gilbert’s studio – sometimes as a developer, sometimes as a publisher – keeps the flame burning. His focus on rich characters, compelling stories, beautiful art, and vintage puzzles make anything with the Wadjet Eye logo worthy of note, including his next project, Old Skies.
In this time travel story, you play as Phia Quinn, a so-called “time agent” working for an organization called ChronoZen. In the future, wealthy clients pay them a fortune to take them back in time. Maybe they want to relive their youth, watch an old friend from afar, or solve some unfinished business. Whatever the reason, no matter how rich they are, they have to play by the rules. Time is a fragile, temperamental thing, and your job through Fia is to protect the timeline at all costs. What can go wrong? Surprise no one, quite a lot.
You can play Old Skies right now as a Steam Next Fest demo, and it’s worth spending an hour or so on. It begins with triangular portals opening in the sky above a construction site, from which Fia and her client Joe Anderson are dropped. It’s 2024 and Joe has a simple request: he wants to eat lunch at the diner he frequented when he was a biochemistry student. Well it sounds simply. Fii’s skills as a time agent are soon put to the test. Joe leaves her and rushes to New York. Why? You must find out.
This is an excellent premise for a story adventure. This demo contains only a tiny part of the game, but I’m already fully invested in it. Tracking down Joe won’t be easy, but luckily Fii has a few tricks up his sleeve. She is able to communicate with the ChronoZen headquarters in her own timeline through an advisor named Nozzo. It has access to a historical database which is very useful when you are stuck in the past. She can also create any amount of money out of thin air and vaporize people. If the timeline is under serious threat, sometimes this is the only way.
In true style, Wadjet Eye Old Skies is a clever mix of comedy and drama. With humor, but also from the heart. As you would expect from a story about rich old men reverting to their youth, this story is tinged with nostalgia and melancholy. But he knows when to make you laugh. I love that Fia isn’t into time travel, she treats it like any other job. She handles the seriousness of what she does well, but is also fully prepared for action when the timeline is at stake. She’s already a great character and has done well, as have the people she meets.
It’s a good sign that when the Old Skies demo ended I was disappointed. It…