By Jeffrey Matulef
We’re really getting spoiled these days. Not only are there fifty bajillion wonderful free games on sites like Newgrounds, Kongregate, and Armor Games, but sometimes we get passionate game creators like Scott Cawthon (Scott Games) who bring us free full length adventures with shockingly accomplished production values. The Desolate Hope is his newest title that’s sure to intrigue fans of classic science fiction.
The Desolate Hope is the follow-up to Cawthon’s The Desolate Room, which I regrettably hadn’t heard of until now. No matter, The Desolate Hope can stand on its own as the tale of a sentient coffee pot jumping inside the virtual minds of mad robots that have been corrupted by a virus.
From a gameplay point of view The Desolate Hope mixes platforming with overhead adventure segments and semi turn-based battles. This is already intriguing, but I’m more impressed by its stunning visual style.
The garish aesthetic mixes hand-crafted 2D backgrounds with 3D character models and claymation. The disparate pieces don’t blend well, but that’s the point. The original King Kong’s stop-motion animation was never convincing, yet it had an otherworldly quality to it that felt more magical and surreal than contemporary CGI. The Desolate Hope hearkens back to the era of games mixing and matching different visual effects before we had homogenized engines like Unreal 3 that made everything look similar. Heck, even big budget games in the mid 90s like Final Fantasy VII portrayed the same characters as sprites, 3D polygonal models, and CGI animations. It was awkward, but also unpredictable and wondrous. Check out the trailer, and if you like what you see (and how could you not?), download the full game.