Electronic Theatre Preview: Journey of a Roach

Some videogames centre their journey around that of a peerless warrior fighting for the survival despite being faced with near-insurmountable odds, some challenge the player with ensuring the survival of the entire of mankind and others still decide that one race isn’t enough, and that […]
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Some videogames centre their journey around that of a peerless warrior fighting for the survival despite being faced with near-insurmountable odds, some challenge the player with ensuring the survival of the entire of mankind and others still decide that one race isn’t enough, and that the fate of the entire galaxy resides with you. Some videogames, however, decide that you’re already too late. Journey of a Roach is one such title: the world-ending nuclear apocalypse has happened, so what do you do now? Why, head to the surface of course.

Playing as Bud, Journey of a Roach challenges the player with reaching the ground above the vault that and his friend Jim find themselves in at the beginning of the videogame. Of course, it’s not a simple stroll to the surface: players must face-off against the wreckage that was once Earth as they struggle with hazardous paths, broken access ways and spiders desperate to save their young. Oh yeah, Bud – that’s you – is a cockroach, in case you hadn’t guessed by now. A cockroach with his wits about him and the determination to make the best of a post-apocalyptic situation.

The story of Journey of a Roach is delivered through lightly animated cartoon sequences featuring solid colours and thick, bold edges to characters and items. It’s a style that’s reminiscent of Cartoon Network’s 90s classics and yet still feel fresh with the subject matter, especially as the language used lies somewhere between Oddworld and Animal Crossing; all communication is delivered through images within speech bubbles while the creatures babble at one another. This debate is present in both the animated sequences and the gameplay itself, offering the player the greatest clue as to how they should proceed.

The videogame largely abides by the traditional point-n’-click gameplay rules: collect and combine items, interact with non-player characters (NPCs) and the environment, correct the binary equations to proceed. However, Journey of a Roach breaks from the mould by offering direct control of Jim. And as a cockroach, Jim is able to walk up walls and across ceilings just as they were without gravity acting upon them. It’s this additional mechanic that will separate Journey of a Roach’s puzzling from the run of the mill genre piece as the option to take to vertical surface will take some getting used to before it becomes second nature.

The challenges Electronic Theatre witnessed during the preview build of Journey of a Roach began fairly simply, but soon built to procedural puzzle solving taking place across multiple screen widths. One puzzle in particular had six different intersections, two of which has to be completed before the final two were possible. Daedalic Entertainment promise that this is in fact just a small taste of the lengthy mental taxation that Journey of a Roach will offer, and as it stands Electronic Theatre simply can’t wait to see what else they have in store for us.

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