“[A] text-based 2D adventure game about getting lost in a valley after your car breaks down. In your search for the elusive Mechanic, you have conversations with several strange individuals.”
Every now and then you play a game which has a nearly indescribable impact on you and you are not even completely sure why. “An Afternoon Rippling” is one of those games for me. Within the playtime of roundabout an hour, I met so many quirky, but also relatable and lovely characters. There is the nonchalant band leader Eva, hiding her insecurity behind a tough attitude. Or Igor, wrapped in a bedroll right under the night sky, looking for answers in the stars. And of course Ezra and Eli, two very different brothers, but still connected to each other.
In “An Afternoon Rippling”, you start of as a person who thinks that their car must be fixed. Instead you will find answers to questions you did not ask at all. It’s a surreal and atmospheric road trip of the mind in the form of an adventure game; a journey of the thoughts. The strange beauty of the unknown will get into your focus, if you let it happening.
The unique art style of the animator and game maker Marcie LaCerte gets mixed up with a good sense for the appropriate background music, but what it all makes really worthwhile are the conversations. Not just the writing of the dialogues itself is excellent, but also the connections thanks to the choice of topics. Nearly all of the characters are trapped by something: The expectations of others on them, their own ambitions, their missing of a future prospects, their waiting that something life-changing happens.
That could be seen as a portrait of adolescents in general, which would make “An Afternoon Rippling” a coming-of-age kind of game. And well, yeah, maybe it even is. But it’s not filled with sadness or despair at all, but with hope, wonderful absurdity and the yen to create an own identity. So come on, get in the car, fasten your seat belt and enjoy this marvelous trip into the desert.