Narrative studio Inkle has made nothing but hits. The brilliant 80 Days imagined a scenario where you accompany standoffish buffoon Phineas Fogg as his slightly-simple valet and manservant while he attempts to traverse the globe; Heaven’s Vault casts you as a retro-futuristic archaeologist in a universe that’s forgotten its own origins; and the sublime Sorcery! series (which makes its way to Switch soon) is a superb interpretation of the classic choose-your-own-adventure books.
But enough about the past, let’s focus on the present — and we mean literally the present, because Inkle’s next release is out NOW. Not tomorrow, not six-months-from-now-but-actually-gets-delayed-to-2022. Now!
Overboard! is what we’re calling a reverse murder-mystery: it’s less of a “whodunnit” and more of an “youdunnit, but now you must pin it on someone else”. You are Veronica Villensey, a West End starlet who definitely, 100 per cent murdered her husband by throwing him off the boat, and now you need to cover up that fact by hiding clues, planting evidence, and hopefully framing some poor, innocent sap.
But, this being a game from narrative wunderkind Inkle, there’s more to it than that. It’s designed for multiple playthroughs, just like 80 Days and Sorcery!, and each NPC has their own agenda, moving around the ship as they please. Plus, every single choice you make can branch the story off in all sorts of unexpected ways, either in your favour or decidedly not.
Jon Ingold, the writer and co-founder of Inkle, described the game thusly on April Fool’s Day:
“We’re going to release a new game next month or something that we made in two months and it’s about a multiple murderer who hates dolphins and talks to God and the soundtrack was recorded on wax cylinder.”
If you’re wondering how much of that was true… well, you’ll just have to play it, won’t you. And you can! Because it’s out now!! Overboard! is on the eShop for £13.49 / $14.99, with a 15% discount until the 9th June.