Something magical just happened.
Indie developers are always looking for the next new thing, trying different ideas to see what sticks with the gaming crowds. Qora, the first title from developer Holden Boyles,offers both a unique visual style and minimalist gameplay which has only been seen a few times before. Published by Curve Digital and now on Steam, Qora invites players to set off on a strange journey filled with epic scenery and an interesting tale. Oh, and more than a little bit of humour.
The gameplay in Qora is as basic as it gets. With the up, down, left and right keys taking care of the the majority of button presses in the game, and a simple action button for the various interactions. This minimal approach to the gameplay may not resonate with all gamers, but those wanting something a little different or more relaxed will find this downgrade of controls a pleasure to deal with.
The same can be said of the visual style in Qora. The miniature characters in the game are created from only a few pixels, with the only real way of telling them apart being the colours they use. The landscapes and backgrounds however, despite the heavy pixel art style, are a thing of beauty. Throughout the magical journey that the player will take through a faraway land, breathtaking locations will burn themselves into the players mind.
But even as the player begins the game, as a newcomer to a small town, memories will start to be formed. The player’s little character is waiting for their fancy house to be built on the side of a mountain, and may as well go and explore a festival that is going on in the nearby town, meeting some of the locals. They are a weird bunch, that’s for sure. The player is quickly introduced to humour in the game, meeting a mountaineer that has a fear of being on the ground, but can’t climb a mountain because his gear in on the ground floor of his house, and the local gardener who hates gardening.
Qora is packed full of humour, showing that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, but also manages to be both heart-warming and a little bit dark. The writing and the way these different aspects of the game have been brought together is masterful, with no single aspect feeling out of place and all combining to make the game as engaging as it is.
Of course, helping with this engagement is the atmospheric soundtrack. While not necessarily filled with tunes that players will come away whistling to themselves, each small piece of music fits perfectly with what is happening on the screen at the time, further enhancing the experience overall. Again, it has been masterfully done.
Sadly, the Qora experience is only short, running at only a couple of hours. There is replay value with a few different endings, but it will still leave players wanting more. However, the game seems designed to be played in one go, and players will come away feeling inspired rather than disappointed.
With an experience that most closely resembles ThatGamingCompany’s Journey, Qora really is something to check out. With a slow pace and minimal gameplay, it will certainly not appeal to all players, but many will be surprised at how easily they are pulled into the tale and how good they feel at the end. Qora is perhaps more interactive movie than traditional videogame. Find Qora on Steam now for £7.99 and make your own mind up…