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Dry Drowning Preview

Posted by GG Goblin On July - 11 - 2019

Futuristic investigations.

Studio V’s Dry Drowning is listed as a thriller-oriented visual novel, which is likely enough to put most gamers off straight away. The visual novel genre is incredibly niche, and generally players will know straight away if this is something they will enjoy. However, Dry Drowning seems to straddle that line between being a visual novel and being more of a regular point and click adventure, and it has to be said that it is the most involving visual novel that I have ever played. The lesson here is “don’t knock it until you’ve tried it”.

dd1 (Copy)

Taking place in the near future of Nova Polemos, players will take on the role of disgraced detective Mordred Foley. With a name like that, he really had to be a chain-smoking shady detective, didn’t he. The game begins with Mordred and his partner discussing where they will go with the detective agency after a rather nasty situation has left them out of favour with the general public. Then, along comes a sensitive case, and things start getting interesting.

Dry Drowning seems to have a very comfortable way of introducing the player to the world of Nova Polemos and the life of Mordred Foley. The game is set some forty years in the future, but the world feels familiar and plausible. Even at the very beginning, when Foley has a cigarette and explains about the bland cigarette packaging covered with images of the harm smoking can cause, the fact that this is already the case in the UK suggests much more subtle changes to the future. In fact, at this point it can be difficult to pin down when the game is actually set. But once the player starts exploring, more obvious advances can be seen, while still remaining within reach of modern society. The same can be said for the political situation in the world, with extremism seemingly in control. This future is a pretty grim place to live, especially for those who would normally suffer under extremist rule. It’s a dark world, but one that doesn’t seem to far detached for our current reality, which is perhaps what makes this world so engaging.

dd2 (Copy)

The same can be said for Mordred Foley. Why is he a disgraced detective? What happened that lead to him being so disliked? He very much starts like the sort of noir detective that would fit into any time period, and the player will have to wait for the juicy drips of backstory to find out what happened. While the way he talks and acts does feel very stereotypical, he remains an interesting and engaging character. I am not entirely sure I can say the same for the rest of the cast, but given that most of these are naturally going show disdain for the detective, I guess it can be forgiven.

The gameplay in Dry Drowning will be familiar to point and click fans, for the most part. Interacting with items and talking with other characters will take up most of the players time. Occasionally a puzzle will pop up, challenging the player to think a little. An interesting new mechanic comes up when Mordred is interrogating characters, with their faces being replaced by creepy masks if they are lying. As the player proves their lies, their faces will return to normal, giving the player a great representation that they are doing something right. The downside is that the player will only have a few attempts at this before hitting a fail state. However, failure anywhere in the game just means retrying, so it’s not really a big deal.

One of the biggest points made in the promotion of this game revolves around the story branches and player choices. The player will come across choices to make regularly in the game, and these choices apparently lead to more than 150 story branches and three different endings, giving the game impressive replayability. Even more interesting is that some of these choices are so momentous that they can change the entire course of the world around Mordred, and the repercussions will be seen throughout the rest of the game.

dd3 (Copy)

Dry Drowning is not quite ready yet, being due to launch on Steam in August and later on Xbox One, but it is certainly one to keep an eye on. Visual novel fans will know what they like, but I think Dry Drowning will appeal to a much wider audience. Check the game out on Steam.

Dry Drowning is due in August on Steam.


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