Developer: Increpare Games
Available from: http://www.increpare.com/2009/04/judith/
A weird indie art-game based on a Charles Perrault tale. Now where have we seen that recently?
Judith is primarily impressive for being more atmospheric than most high-budget, high-tech, triple-A releases. It looks pre-Wolfenstein – the original one – but the sense of foreboding, the deeply sinister characterisations and remarkable, haunting tragedy running through its bones are quite something. Judith unrelentingly drags you into its world, and keeps you there until the extremely bitter end.
Judith is a game about control, the developer’s website states. Specifically, it’s a game about losing control. Often, this is quite literal – the game regularly drags you off in a certain direction without you needing to press any controls, increasingly as the story develops. It all ties in. This is a game about what happens when your every move is being defined by the actions of someone else – whether it’s searching for your lost girlfriend, or praying your murderous husband doesn’t realise you’re prying into his secrets behind his back.
Though the original premise is Perrault’s, it’s more obviously based on Bartok’s operatic adaptation, Duke Bluebeard’s Castle – without the singing, natch. The twist is that Judith flits backwards and forwards through time something rotten, galloping admirably between the main story – the past – and a rather thought-provoking love story in the present. It’s difficult to expose any more without obtuse spoilers, so we’ll leave this as a short little plug for a fascinating interactive experience.