Developer: Mad About Pandas Publisher: Verses Evil Category: Adventure, Mystery Release Date: March 26, 2021
The series Twilight Zone is, to this day, one of my favorite shows. Even dated, it often provides a chilling look at the human condition, as well as, moments of unease. Alred Hitchcock had the ability of capturing these same emotions. A present day series that comes to mind that would appear inspired by Twilight Zone or Hitchcock would be Black Mirror. Now imagine, if you will. Discovering a way to create an adventure game that successfully presents a thought provoking narrative, while keeping you on edge with the storytelling. This is Hitchhiker.
Life is a Highway
The narrative, like many point and click adventures, drives the story (pun inteneded). The game beings with you sitting in the passenger seat as the “hitchhiker”. You are called Copernicus, and you work to piece together the memories you have lost. In conversation, Copernicus discovers his girlfriend is missing, and you must figure out why. Each driver you encounter will guide your path closer to the truth you are seeking.
Road to Nowhere
The gameplay, or lack therein, is fairly simple. The main focus, the story, requires you to select responses to each driver. There are a total of five different “rides” or “drivers” and each work to guide you closer and closer to the end of the road. The simplicity of the game doesn’t work against it however, because it allows the player to really focus on the story. Thus, drawing you in enough that you care about the characters and what has happened to cause them to end up separated.
Everyday is a Winding Road
This story uses a small collection of moments and mixes them up just enough to cause tension. The tension really was necessary, or I believe the game would have towed the line of boring. With minimal experience with point-and-click adventures or visual novels, Hitchhiker was surprisingly well recieved. The background environment, while often repetitive, was a delight to look at. The soundtrack was softly placed. From the noises of the wind when the window is down, to the use of the radio, this game got a lot right. I spent as much time as I could just looking around. One of the more positive aspects was the scenic breaks. Music plays a tad louder and you are able to think about the story while enjoying the environments you are placed in. This ends when you click on the drivers, and the narrative continues.
Sleep on the Floor
There is very little negative to say about the game. Slightly more interactivity would have been welcomed. Also, with joy-cons being used so often the game can be complicated. The devs of Hitchhiker aren’t to blame, it is just something everyone needs to be aware of. While using the pro controller, the game played without issue. Replayability is awfully low, however this is a game I will likely return to at least one more time. The story was deep and thoughtful and short enough that it can be experienced in a day.
End of the Road
Anthony Bourdain once said, “Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” It is as if the developers of this game took that quote and built a game around this idea. Hitchhiker was a great quick experience that left me with a satisfying feeling at it’s conclusion. The environment is rich with color, and the music is congenial. Hitchhiker could be a Twilight Zone episode in it’s own right. If you enjoy games like Firewatch and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, this game will not disappoint you. Hop in the passenger seat and allow Hitchhiker to take you on a ride down memory lane.
Buy Now: 19.99
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* The Switch Effect was graciously provided this game code for review.