It’s been 45 minutes, and Hodge the cat still hasn’t licked his own bum. Nor did he even attempt to scratch the furniture while we were in Claude Monet’s house. And when I asked him to sit on a pressure switch to open a door, he actually did it. This isn’t normal cat behaviour, but then again Another Sight isn’t a particularly normal adventure game. Set in a very weird, alternative version of Victorian London, it stars a blind girl called Kit - who is looking for her father - and a cat called Hodge, who has different coloured eyes and is maybe the best behaved feline ever.
Throughout the game, which takes you through a decidedly bizarre underworld in 2.5D, you need to play as both Kit and Hodge to overcome a series of puzzles, environmental hazards, and encounters with sinister guards. These range from simple tasks like sitting Hodge on a pressure plate to drop a ladder for Kit, right through to complicated clock problems and even playing a piano for eccentric composer Debussy. If this all sounds rather weird, it is, and the game itself is inspired by Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, so if you’re a fan it’ll feel comfortingly bizarre.
The whole point of Another Sight is to uncover what exactly happened to Kit’s father, and work out why she has suddenly become blind (and inherited a well-behaved mog). During my demo I’m jumped between levels so I can see some of the coolest features on offer, which makes things especially disorientating, but it seems to be one of those adventures where the answers slowly creep out of the fog of confusion as you push through. There’s a nice, slow pace to everything, and the puzzles are introduced at just the right pace to keep you exploring. Switching between Kit and Hodge (a simple tap of RB on the Xbox One controller used here) allows you to see the world in different ways too.
Hodge views everything as it is, in full colour and with a wide field of view. Kit, who has been blinded, only gets an impression of her surroundings based on what she can hear. The result is a narrow, claustrophobic, and occasionally scary world that definitely gives you a different perspective on the game. Apparently the developer, Lunar Great Wall Studios, consulted with various health bodies to get the sensation of how it feels to be blind, and to almost use hearing as echolocation, to get the mood as authentic as possible.
It’s an element of realness in an otherwise surreal game, that embraces the spirit of steampunk and mixes in a touch of gothic menace. During my demo there was a lot of wandering around tunnels and interacting with steam-powered machinery, with the odd floating clock and surrealist garden thrown in for good measure. Some levels see you playing as just Kit or cat (now, suddenly, I’m struck by a craving for a chocolate wafer), but most have you teaming up. No matter the make-up of the stage, the visuals and environments here are the strangely beautiful result of a team determined to tell a creative story that brings the likes of What Remains of Edith Finch to mind. The inclusion of historical figures like Claude Monet, Nikola Tesla, and a bunch of other Victorian scientists and artists provide a bit of character to an adventure that would likely be too dull and po-faced without them.
In all, it’s a very curious game, and while not currently as accomplished as the top tier indie games of the past few years, it’ll certainly appeal to fans of the bizarre. Oh, and anyone who recognises and is thoroughly fed up with the lack of playable cats in video games. Even if this particular one isn’t quite as partial to a quick body clean, followed by a long nap, as most real felines actually are. Another Sight will release on PC in September, with console versions for PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch due later in 2018.
What other games are due this year? Check out our guide to all the new games 2018, in one handy list.