Since its founding in 2007, Daedalic Entertainment has always given space to video games with a particular creative flair or that draw out some niche styles from the past. We can remember Machinarium and Botanicula of the Amanita Design the recent Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun by Mimimi, but the German study is known above all for the series of Deponia, developed "in house ". Undoubtedly it is with this series that Daedalic has gained greater notoriety outside the national panorama (where it has been awarded with numerous awards), and this has allowed it to attempt new paths and aim higher and higher.
For about four or so five years, the German publisher and developer has also inaugurated the " Daedalic Days ", an event in which the press can get in touch with new projects in development and meet the minds behind them. In the visit to the Hamburg studios we immediately had the perception of being in an environment where creativity flourishes and in which developers enjoy walling up the walls with artwork and drawings that somehow refer to their past work.
A dancer and romantic reaper
The first game we tested with our hands – and even one of those that most impressed us – is an intriguing puzzle game: Felix The Reaper . " A romantic comedy about the life of Death " cites the subtitle, and the tone immediately makes it clear how things stand: Felix is a nice reinterpretation in a comic key of the lugubrious sad reaper . He is plump, with a round and likeable skeletal face.
He wears a shirt with a red tie, framed by a not too elegant black vest. Despite its appearance, it shows an unexpected agility when it delights in danzerine movements to the rhythm of the music it listens to through headphones perennially attached to the skull. The good Felix is also an incurable romantic, in fact he is madly in love with Minister of Life a (little) attractive maid who is however totally out of his reach. He only hopes that by doing an impeccable job for Minister of Death one day he will have the opportunity to meet her.
His task is obviously to harvest innocent victims but he must do so by following simple rules. The first is to stay in the shadows: Felix can move around thanks to a click in the various maps made up of boxes, but only if the latter are covered by a shadow. Instead, the second rule is to manipulate time.
As executor of the plans of the Minister of Death, Felix has the power to modify the time flow at will, this translates into a button that allows you to change between two "times" of the day. Depending on the position of the solar disk the shadows projected on the ground will cover different boxes.
The third is the simplest: execute the plan . Each map has a particular objective (to transport an object from point A to point B, to move a character to a specific position), which Felix must reach using his abilities.
Felix and Agent 47 Both the fathers of Felix the Reaper and those of Agent 47 have Danish origins. And it is no coincidence that Kong Orange's grim reaper has a physiognomy and clothes that could vaguely recall those of the protagonist of Hitman. The developer clearly told us that the similarity was intended and that they would also want to create a video in collaboration with IO Interactive. The idea would be to establish a parallelism between the two characters (who share the same profession), but highlighting the comic style of Felix the Reaper: Agent 47 who, bold, runs towards his goal, while the poor Felix struggles with his pursuit. Unfortunately we are told that IO Interactive has never responded to this request, so it is likely that the two killers will never come into contact. Sin.
It is a playful puzzle game structure not very elaborate, but equally effective. On the other hand, the Danish team Kong Orange was planning to create an adventure that could be at the same time simple, fun and also rather profoundly narrative. The direct test with Felix the Reaper which lasted about thirty minutes, did not allow us to understand either how the game will evolve in narrative terms, or what will be the new mechanics that will characterize the most advanced worlds ( in total there will be five, and will range from medieval settings to 80s-style towns). However, the beginning gradually introduced us to the various elements of the game: we started from an easy mission in which it was necessary to place a hapless person at the point of falling of a dart thrown by his companion, and then proceed with gradually more complex levels. In a stage it was necessary to move objects to create areas of shadow in which to pass, or to activate a button that caused a wagon to move and then allow us to produce a lethal chain reaction. In short, the evolution was very perceptible, so much so that if the first missions did not give us practically any problems, the last one we faced forced us to think much more before arriving at the solution.
We therefore expect a difficulty curve that becomes steep enough, but thanks to Felix's easy-going look and the comic atmosphere – which also leaves room for exhilarating releases from Disco Death -, we think that the frustration will remain below the level of guard
Moreover, the clean and effective style is really the strong point of Kong Orange's work. What is most striking is the grotesque aspect of places and people, which, according to the words of one of the developers, were however inspired by medieval depictions, but deprived of more macabre and obscure aspects. Even the feats of Felix's dancers were conceived by referring to the medieval paintings that depicted the " Danse Macabre ", a dance between skeletons and men that strengthened the theme of "memento mori", and Renaissance paintings with the motif de " Death and the Maiden ". Clearly the whole macabre has been reconverted into buffoonery, and the animators have worked with imagination, adding even nice pelvic movements or letting Felix's head separate from the body and then fall perfectly back into place. Among the sources of inspiration there is also the 1958 TV series The Twilight Zone (in Italy known as "Ai Confini della Realtà"), the paintings by Bosch and Bruegel, as well as, above all for the features of Felix, the animated films of Hayao Miyazaki and the animated series Adventure Time.