Currently seeking funding over on Kickstarter, My Uncle Merlin, from Pocket Mana, is an RPG graphic adventure with a well-defined sense of humour and an absolute willingness to have players explore the possibilities of, well, wizards in space.
Splicing together the dialogue and decision-heavy play expected from modern BioWare titles with the unabashed fear of killing off players of the early Sierra adventure titles, Pocket Mana’s My Uncle Merlin is more than willing to let you do absolutely stupid things which will end in abject failure. Heck, in the demo — currently available on the Kickstarter page — I picked a fight with an orc mercenary and fed both guiding-mentor-and-titular-character Uncle Merlin and myself to a dragon.
It’s not just that, though; the first chapter has a multitude of paths and you can consciously bugger them all up. Feed a character to a dragon, sacrifice a character in a ritual, subject a character to a life of slavery, or even just free a character to a nicer life. The locations available to you (of which there are fewer than a dozen) almost all interlink with each other, not least through the characters who can join the crew of your space-faring, dragon-powered castle.
It’s not just dialogue choices, mind. There’s also some inventory management which is tied to fluctuating funds; as well as having to keep your (dragon) ship fueled, be that with passengers or sheep; and a simplified RPG system based around Body, Soul and Mind, which opens up new conversation options throughout the game.
There are nine planned chapters for the game, however they’ll only happen if the game can meet its goal of $22,000: a humble amount considering the core team includes three friends who have already coughed up a lot to get the game to this point.
If funded, My Uncle Merlin’s Kickstarter is expected to fully deliver in July of next year. As an interesting and well-grounded decision, the team have opted to keep most of the bonus rewards — ranging from digital soundtrack to player-designed in-game content — as digital ones, which is sensible due to the team being based in Serbia.
Fans of point-and-click or dialogue-led adventure games should definitely go and check out the demo for the game, over on its Kickstarter page. My Uncle Merlin only has a short while left to go, and while adventure titles are very niche, it’s exceptionally rare for a small developer to nail the classic humour and spontaneity which made the genre bloom back in the 90s.