Letters – a written adventure

“Letters – a written adventure” by 5am Games (Aleksandra Iakusheva, Selina Capol & Martina Hotz) & Michel Barengo.

“Travel back to the [Nineties], go through pen pal letters and old school chat systems to follow the life of Sarah, an [eleven] year old girl from Switzerland. Use the power of words to solve riddles, interact with her friends and decide what kind of person [she will] grow up to be.”

“Letters – a written adventure” seems to become a stunningly designed puzzle game, not only because of its great looks of the demo version, but also because of the combination of clever puzzle design and its coming-of-age story. You start playing as Sarah, a Swiss girl with two good friends: Lia, who loves video games and goes to the same school with her, and her Russian pen pal Katya.

The first phase of the game centers on a letter that Sarah writes for Katya. Each paragraph of the text is filled with little puzzles and before a new part gets written, all puzzles must be solved. For example, Sarah writes about her favorite animals, which are birds. A lovely doodle of a yellow lad with just one wing appears, becoming an obstacle for the player to overcome. Luckily, some of the already existing words get marked with a blue background color. Sarah can grab those words and pushing them to the object of the puzzle. But not always these hints suffice, so the girl has to kick a part of the words away to make it a proper choice. That way, “drawing” can become a single “wing”, which will make the birdie fly again.

For the second stage of “Letters – a written adventure”, Sarah grows up to a teenager. Five years have passed and now she does not write letters anymore to Katya; instead, both of them communicate via a chat messenger. Of course, the interface of the program offers just as many puzzles as the letter, but it is still a delight to see how each solution to a problem works out and what the feedback will be.

Like I already said in the beginning, “Letters – a written adventure” is just a demo version by now and that is why you can only experience the described two timeframes of Sarah’s life. But the project was successfully backed with the help of its Kickstarter campaign, and thereby you can be pretty sure that this creative puzzle game will see the light in 2021 as a full release. I am already looking forward to this and wish the 5am Games team the best of luck! [PLAY]