18.06.2024

Verne: The Shape Of Fantasy Review

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The name Jules Verne is probably familiar to you. That’s because he wrote several famous novels, and among his most famous novels is “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea”, which this game is based on.
In a gaming world filled with blockbusters and immersive experiences, Verne: The Shape of Fantasy stands out as a true indie gem. This game, developed by Gametopia, takes players on an unforgettable journey through the pages of classic literature into a world of time and imagination.

  • Developer: Gametopia
  • Publisher: Assemble Entertainment, WhisperGames
  • Release Date: August 24, 2023

The narrative in Verne is a testament to the power of storytelling in games. It skillfully combines elements of Verne’s classic novels such as Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Journey to the Center of the Earth while presenting its own unique twists and turns. Dialogues are rich with historical context, characters are carefully developed, and the sense of wonder and adventure is palpable. The voice acting is top-notch, and each character is brought to life with authenticity and depth. As you uncover the mysteries of the Nautilus and explore uncharted worlds, you’ll be fully immersed in a narrative that will keep you engaged from start to finish.

While story is key, Verne: The Shape of Fantasy also impresses with its innovative game mechanics. The game seamlessly blends puzzle solving, exploration, and unique time travel mechanics. As you travel through the depths of the ocean and traverse the underworlds, you will encounter a variety of puzzles that will challenge your intellect and creativity. These puzzles are well designed and strike the perfect balance between being thought-provoking and accessible.

The time loop is one of the most interesting features of the Vern game. It allows players to rewrite certain historical events, though this choice remains limited to the overall narrative. This feature not only expands the storyline, but also opens up exciting possibilities for re-telling and branching the narrative. Whether you’re boarding enemy soldiers, escaping a Kraken attack in the past, or deciphering ancient hieroglyphics in the distant future, the time travel aspect adds a level of excitement and the illusion of choice to the gameplay.

The world-building and puzzle design in Verne is surprisingly excellent. Utilizing maximum retro pixel graphics, each environment is meticulously designed with incredible attention to detail, immersing players in breathtaking landscapes and settings while looking like an old Sierra game. The Nautilus itself is a work of art with its steampunk aesthetic and atmospheric interiors, and seeing it all at once on a detailed map screen can sometimes be confusing. The seamless blend of narrative reality with fantastical elements ensures that every moment spent in the game is a true adventure.


Verne: The Shape of Fantasy is a great example of a narrative game. It transports players to a world beyond imagination, seamlessly combining the genius of Jules Verne’s literary creations with modern gaming innovations. With its compelling narrative, clever game mechanics and overall technical excellence, this game is considered a modern classic. The music is completely captivating, as is the overall sound design.

If you’re looking for a gaming adventure that invites you to explore uncharted territories and captures your imagination, Verne: The Shape of Fantasy is the one for you.


PROS

  • Intriguing use of Jules Verne and his works as a premise
  • The pixel art is delightful
  • The puzzles are beautifully designed, though a bit simple

CONS

  • The premise doesn’t utilize its potential
  • Gameplay can feel boring
  • Time loop mechanics are underutilized

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