It’s an average choose-your-own-adventure game.
April’s Humble Choice selection includes The Life and Suffering of Sir Brante: In Times of the Fall of the Blessed Arknian Empire, an indie game which I got on Steam last year mainly on the strength of its title alone, and have played for about five hours.
Sir Brante tells the story of, you guessed it, Sir Brante, a man who grows up in a somewhat grimdark heteronormative patriarchal fantasy theological setting which is obviously modeled after a historical European medieval period. The tale unfolds over five parts of Sir Brante’s life, each containing a series of short chapters. At the end of each tale you make a choice that determines how the rest of the story plays out.
I bought it because I had an idea for a video series, and I was looking for a “choose your own adventure” style of narrative game. I was going to roll a die onscreen to make every narrative selection randomly.
I suppose Sir Brante could also fit into the “visual novel” genre of games, but I tend to think of visual novels as heavy on the narrative and light on the choices, whereas I was looking for something that had meaningful choices on every page, so to speak.
The writing is servicable but not inspired, with themes revolving around religion and the divisions between nobility and lower classes. The setting wasn’t entirely uninteresting, and there were hints of compelling conflicts to come, but I found the storytelling ran out of steam after four to five hours (of reading out loud). The plot felt like it developed too slowly, the characters weren’t very deep, and I couldn’t tell how my choices changed the story for the better, so I gave up with Sir Brante barely reaching the end of adolescence.
Kudos should go to the developer for making the font readable by default. I liked the visual style of the game’s artwork–the stark monochromatic sepia-and-black line art and so forth. The music and sound effects didn’t detract from the experience. (But neither did they really add to it.)
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it, but it’s not the worst example of this kind of game I’ve ever seen, either. It sits in that broad space that’s … well, average, which is unfortunately faint praise in an ocean of similarly average games.