Powerless is a tough interactive fiction in a world sapped of electricity

As a global power cut leaves society reeling, you take on the form of various personas and use your wits and skills to keep them alive in Powerless, an interactive fiction game.

Powerless, by Narratio, is a narrative adventure game which prides itself on hard choices. Society has collapsed after a global power cut severs all but the most rigorous communication and infrastructure methods. You interact with this fallen world through a simple, choice-driven interface narrated by MAUDE, an AI tasked with simulating disaster and testing your honesty, selfishness, bravery and resourcefulness.

I played through one of the personas, a character who awakens in a hospital with no idea what has happened, while at EGX earlier in the year. It is a perfect introduction to the world and perfectly captures the fear of the unknown, and sense of horror that would come from such a situation. Talking with some other people who had played through the persona revealed a wide selection of fates for the character; some met strangers on the stairs, others quenched thirst from dubious locations, some simply died. Indeed, Powerless’ persona system, which unlocks new characters as you trigger adjacent events, does allow for a lot more brutality than other, narrative-heavy experiences — once you end your session with MAUDE there can be just shadows left of the dozen or so personas you can take on.

While adjacent, the characters are each vastly different; some are simply seeking shelter from harm, others to repair a device they have. From helicopter pilot to nurse, though, each can die if you are not careful and aware of your surroundings.

There were nine personas included at launch, with a further three to follow. In time, the developer hopes to use Powerless’ format as a platform for further experiences about other natural disasters, with a view to collating the data of certain areas’ survivability. A very interesting application of data.

Powerless, from Narratio, is available now on iOS and Android as well as Steam. It’s currently in active development with the game viewed as a live product.

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