Let’s clear the air here a bit: Adult Swim Games isn’t just a game development studio – it’s a publisher. In this case, they’ve published a fantastic new adventure from Gatling Goat Studio called Traverser. Traverser is one of those indie gems that’s truly worthy of the gem descriptor. Traverser is set on Earth’s distant future, where the sun has collapsed and left the planet’s surface a frozen wasteland. Moreover, with the sun gone, the planet just drifts aimlessly through space. Yet, humanity lives on in a subterranean world deep below the planet’s surface.
The game is set in a very steampunk-inspired city, where Victorian mannerisms and design meets modern technology. It’s dark, gritty, and filled with many intricacies. The characters you meet are often memorable, and the voice acting is, for the most part, quite strong. After a brief tutorial “test” at the Raven Korp headquarters, the lead character becomes a “traverser,” who can use a gravity glove to manipulate objects all around her in order to do all sorts of fun, amazing things. The core of the gameplay, then, revolves around the manipulation of objects to reach new goals, a bit of stealth, and certainly some puzzle-solving. All of this is done in such a way as to never grow tedious. Instead, the game knows how to test you while not driving you crazy, and gives you good tidbits of story to look forward to and keep you interested in pressing on.
The graphics, I thought, were wonderful. Despite its third-person perspective, the game really pushes itself to produce a gritty and realistic aesthetic, while having artwork that looks right out of the world of Tim Burton.
There are times when the controls aren’t quite as responsive as you might hope, resulting in a mild bit of frustration, but for the most part, bugs are minimal and the game runs exceptionally smoothly. This is rare, it seems, among indie and AAA games alike lately, so I certainly applaud Gatling Goat in this respect.
So, to sum things up…Traverser is due out today and is an excellent darker steampunk adventure/puzzler/platformer. I highly recommend picking this one up – you’ll likely get a great deal of fun out of it, as I have!