May is a touching, story-based game in which you control a mayfly through its short, single-day life.
May, made by students as part of NFTS Games, made its first public appearance at EGX. While this game was still very much early in development, please allow me to tell you about the life of this little bug.
You’re a mayfly — young, in love, flying across the water — when suddenly an accident causes your love’s wings to break. She can no longer fly across the lake and lay her eggs. Narrowly missing death yourself, you are determined to carry your partner to the spawning lake before she dies, gently fluttering with her along the water’s surface.
Along the water, there are several different obstacles to solve, each with various solutions — things like branches in the way or tunnels to pass through as you cling on to your love. As you solve one obstacle, the solution you chose is taken away from you for the next puzzle. This forces you to really think and not rely on what you have learned so far, ensuring you learn and master new skills.
In the background of this tragic journey, you are shown the most beautiful landscape — sunsets, distant houses full of people celebrating life, grass blowing in the breeze like nothing is wrong. Yet you are a mayfly, carrying your dying love in hopes of saving your children.
The emotion and story around this little bug, unnoticed in the big world, is what May focuses on. You play something as insignificant as a bug, yet so full of loss and hope. Though the EGX demo wasn’t quite there yet, the entire concept around Mayis brilliantly done.
I’d also like to talk about the developer of the game, Daniel Stankowski. NFTS does an amazing job of giving opportunities to their students, like letting them attend EGX; there they can go as developers and showcase to the general public. This is not an easy task — and EGX is often these students’ first appearance at such events. Daniel had made some changes to the game right before the event, causing some major bugs in the movement of the mayfly and the way puzzles worked. Because of this, his game was quite difficult to play.
Daniel still stood by his booth, quickly and professionally helping players to overcome the bugs and continue with the game. Any feedback he was given he took well, despite it being obvious to him that it was because of the current state of the build. Having a build that doesn’t perform stably at events is a super-challenging thing to demo — and Daniel did an amazing job just going with it. He could even play through the bugs, showcasing the game in a fantastic light, if you simply wanted to watch him and hear the story. He will forever stick out in my head (as will his game) just because of the way he handled showcasing at EGX — not giving up for a single moment, like the mayfly in his story.
You can follow the development of this super-emotional little game by following @MAYGame2017 on Twitter.