The year is 1944, the height of WW2, and it’s up to a quadriplegic psychic and his right hand man, a former Japanese soldier, to stop a plot by Nazi occultists to unleash an ancient curse upon the world. This is the elevator pitch for Indiesruption and Blowfish Studio’s Nine Witches: Family Disruption, a kookie action adventure game, and one of the IndieCade Anytime Anywhere Nominees.
While only a demo is currently playable for the Indiesruption adventure title, it already gives a feel for the sort of story and sort of game to expect from the finished product. While not technically a point and click adventure game (there is no cursor pointer), the game is very evidently inspired by the genre, both in the scope of its adventure and in its love of patent absurdism. One of the first things you can do in the game is examine a portrait of one of the playable characters, only to note “it has the same number of pixels as the real one.”
Also, you read that right, one of the playable characters, as Nine Witches has two heroes that you must switch between to accomplish your goals; Professor Krakovitz, a quadriplegic scientist capable of astrally projecting to speak with the dead, and his assistant Akiro Kagasawa, a Japanese expat who carries a service revolver, suggesting a military background that intrigues me given the game’s alternate history World War 2 setting. The two heroes must combine their differing talents to infiltrate the German occupied Norwegian town of Sundäe (It’s right next to Mylkshäke) and stop the curse unleashed upon the world by Okkulte-55, which seems to be comprised of the leader Friedrich Von Darka, his right hand man Dr. Handloser, and some generic muscle. As an aside, I do hope the game pays off on the obvious foreshadowing of Dr. Handloser in hilarious ways.
Despite the game’s story and humor being cut from the same cloth as classic point and click adventure titles, the game bills itself as an action adventure, and rightly so. The game suggests playing with a gamepad as Krakovitz and Akiro are directly controlled by a directional pad or WASD controls, with examine, talk, grab, inventory, and special abilities available as the face and shoulder buttons, or assigned to various keys on your keyboard. Further, there are moments of legitimate action, such as the brief and surprising shootout during the demo’s second chapter, where you must maneuver Akiro to shoot a belligerent German man and avoid being shot in return, despite his gun jamming every few shots.
The demo is fairly short, about 20 to 30 minutes, going from Krakovitz’s London home, to just outside of Sundae where they must ambush a German filmmaker named Otto von Zelluoid to infiltrate a film festival, and ending shortly after our heroes make it past a German checkpoint in a moment reminiscent of classic Lucasarts adventure game copy protection (You must repeat certain digits of your in game passport to a guard, and those digits randomize each playthrough) before they survive an attack by a gun-toting mime.
The sense of humor in the demo is amazing. In addition to the silly names already mentioned, the game features an Indiana Jones-style travel map, including helpful labels of all the locations traveled… and the cockroach chilling out on the corner of the map. There are also loads of objects littered around the play area that only exist to to be examined for a joke, and I hope they show up just as frequently in the full game.
Indiesruption seems to have quite a gem in the works here, and I hope the finished product is just as clever and charming as their demo was.