Global Game Jam 2021: Sub String

“Sub String” by Matthew Zhang.

“A puzzle adventure about sound and guidance.”

“Sub String” is basically a game about cooperation and guidance, but also exploration and finding a place to rest. A major event has shaken the world here, even if its exact nature remains unclear. There is only talk that the “encroaching maze” has engulfed entire areas. Thus, our own journey also starts in a winding tunnel system. However, our environment is not just some small labyrinth, but almost an organic entity.

For example, when we pull on strings, new doors open for us or gates to other areas close. Other passages, on the other hand, may seem like rigid tunnels at first glance, but suddenly they rise and fall like one’s own chest when breathing. The reactions to our actions in this strange world follow patterns that we observe, learn, and must adapt to.

We are not left to our own, though. Other beings that look almost like the shadow versions of lily pads need our help and we need theirs. Since their eyesight is no longer the best, we have to ping them. The sounds help them locate us, whereupon they move towards us. This way, we can help them navigate around dangerous spikes and saw blades, while they can pull on strings for us at the appropriate time or even create completely new ones.

But another figure, simply called “The Wanderer”, helps us too. She left us several signs on her route with clues that sometimes discreetly point to the solution of a puzzle and sometimes simply tell us a bit about the world in “Sub String”. Until the end, she seems like a partner you never see, yet who is always present (this reminded me enormously of a character from one of my old favorite games “World of Goo”, by the way). Now it is time for you to find out what actually is at the end of the tunnel. [PLAY]