At the end of August, Mujo Games released a huge update that tripled the scope of their smash hit text-based game (and for free, no less).
Ord.’s original concept, even without the expansion, is one that turned quite a few heads upon its release. Its simplicity as a game composed solely of three word stories has been deemed refreshing, accessible and compelling. This work of interactive fiction is one that exhibits the immense power of language, even when constrained by extreme brevity. Much of the non-linear story is left to the player’s imagination, but certain words (like warlock, quest, mist, forest) are both simple and evocative enough to conjure fantastic imagery in the mind of the player.
The new update for Ord. takes this premise and runs with it. In addition to the original story, which already contains several paths and endings, three more narratives have been added to the mix, each easy to select from the menu. One takes you on a journey through several magical portals, in hopes of returning home. Another lets you act as a god in the process of creating the world. The third puts you in the shoes of a young child in some sort of trouble. Each of these is unique and capitalizes on Ord.’s three-word interface in different ways.
The most notable of these is the one that has you playing as a child. Unlike the two other newly-introduced games — which follow the original, open-ended nature of Ord. in its first iteration — this one follows a far more linear story. The only way to progress through it is by trial-and-error, with the majority of choices leading to the protagonist’s capture or death. By memorizing the correct sequence of choices, the player can navigate their way through to a more conclusive or favorable end.
This sort of gameplay is decidedly more frustrating than Ord.’s original story. In my first experience with Ord., I was eager to try out as many new narrative branches as possible, as each ending was comparable in terms of meaning and satisfaction. However, in this new story, the opposite is encouraged, as repetition is what ultimately allows you to experience new endings.
Though this particular narrative may not be for everyone, it is a rather charming and nostalgic homage to text-based adventure games of old, many of which were similarly punishing. Additionally, the other two new stories are entirely different, rewarding experimentation and delivering variety in equal measure.
Ultimately, there has never been a better time to purchase Ord. This seemingly casual game offers both emotionally and intellectually engaging narratives, and now does so with an abundance of new content.
Ord. is available now on Steam for PC.