Interactive fiction has been a key part of computer games since the 1960’s. In those days, the games were strictly text based and required an individual to use their imagination instead of getting super fancy graphics running at 60fps and 1440p shoved down their gullets. Games like ADVENT, Zork, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Leather Goddesses of Phobos made the player think about the puzzle and how to solve the puzzle. You had to pull a lever, unlock a door, collect your towel and escape the house, or don’t panic to name a few of the ways the games had you solving puzzles. If we look carefully back at many of those games and puzzles, you will find remnants of them in current games, such as the tricky multi-key puzzles in Resident Evil, or the puzzles found in today’s adventure games like Thimbleweed Park or Monkey Island.
Trackless by 12 East Games has you take on the role of a seeker. As a seeker you decide to take a journey that many have taken in order to reach a monolith called “The Object” To reach The Object you must face a set of trials that challenge your wits and observation skills. During the journey you will meet a wide cast of characters that can possibly help or hinder your ability to discover the path of enlightenment and understand what “The Object” truly is and where it came from.
Trackless follows in the footsteps that have been laid by the classic interactive fictions that have come before it. The game uses your observation skills and the necessity to enter important “key words” in order to perform a proper action to advance the storyline. But this is where Trackless delineates itself from the games of yore.
In the traditional interactive fiction games, the developers programmed the games to only accept a very specific command or set of commands in order to activate or advance to the next step of the story or puzzle. The need to find the exact keywords in order to advance with the game inevitably frustrated players, because many of the programmers would choose very obscure synonyms to ensure that the player was challenged by the game and wouldn’t beat the game too quickly. Trackless updates the mechanic by creating a variety of options from the most obscure to the most basic of commands. The developers then award a currency prize based on the uniqueness of the activating keyword, with more obscure synonyms being awarded more currency. The player can then spend the currency on various themes for their phone which is critical in assisting you with your quest to reach “The Object”
Trackless continues to modernize the traditional interactive fiction by creating a graphical world to interact with instead of paragraphs of texts. 12 East Games provides help to the player with your critical cell phone, which provides hints of what to interact with, capturing dialogue with characters and descriptions of the items which you need to interact with to help the player with solving which keyword to use.
Graphics and Music
The game follows a cel shading graphics design with character design that look like they can be pulled out of a cyberpunk future similar to Ghost in the Shell. This style suits the games demeanor nicely and really puts the player on a skittish footing from the minute you start the game up until the end. The art style makes you wonder what strange world you have stepped into and what kind of eerie cultish end will you find as you continue on with your journey.
The characters with their cyberpunk outfits and dialogue continually makes you question everything they tell you. And this begins to play on your mind as you try to figure out who is telling you the truth and who is lying to you as you go through your trial to discover the truth behind “The Object”.
12 East Games worked with MAKEUP AND VANITY SET (also known for their work on Brigador) to create a soundtrack that is mesmerizing and really draws you into the eerie environment that has been setup through the backdrops and environments that you must explore. The soundtrack and sound effects also make the player feel oddly alone even though you meet a cast of characters throughout the game.
Trackless is an amazing re-imagining of an almost forgotten genre of games and does wonderful justice in the modernization. The games unique story and the ambience it set can really send a shiver down a players spine and lead them to continue to question and doubt every additional piece of information they obtain as they go through the trials to reach “The Object”. 12 East Games ability to tell such a chilling yet mesmerizing story through graphics and sound really make this game stand out and worth the play for players who want to enjoy a game that challenges them mentally.
Redonkulous Gaming gives Trackless a 9 out of 10 and highly recommends this game for anyone who has ever reminisced about the old text based games to the initiates that choose to discover the truth as a seeker.