For those not in the know, Penny Arcade is one of the oldest web comics on the net (It started back in ’98) and, as most webcomics those days, is about gaming. It has evolved quite an elaborate kind of humor as well as some unique characters and it also does not shy away from profanity. In short, I like it.
Which is why I was pleasantly surprised that a new game has just been released online, that is based on this setting and follows the same kind of rules: On the Rain-slick Precipice of Darkness.
The game is a CRPG with a Final Fantasy-esque combat system and with beautiful hand-drawn cartoonish graphics. It is novel in the sense that it is set in a weird 1920’s era and the two main heroes are versions of Gabe and Tycho from the original cartoon, as well the custom character you create for your use.
The storyline, as far as I have played it at least, seems interesting enough. Although the game, other than the narrator, does not include any speech, the dialogues are well made and, as expected, do not shy from profanity either. A welcome change for someone who is sick and tired of self-censoring games (like me)
As far as I’ve read, the game lasts around 5-10 hours but seeing as it’s the first episode, and you pay just €12 for it ($20) it does not seem a bad deal (at least for europeans).
And for the best part: It runs on GNU/Linux…natively!
This was actually what made me decide to buy the game. Even though the game is still propriertary, the fact that they did not take the easy way and just use DirectX grants them my support and with the price like that, it was a pretty low token. Of course I do believe that for such a small and episodic game they might as well sell it for 5€ and double their buyers overnight. It will just not worth pirating it when you can get it online much easier.
In the end, I also think that they could just as well liberate the engine of the game and still suffer no problem. After all, the whole point of it is the artwork, music and story which are things you can keep under copyright control. However releasing the engine would make sense, as it would allow a much faster development and bug fixing process and plus, a whole lot of Positive Karma and support from the Free Software community.
And with that, this little review-of-sorts is finished and I leave you with a short trailer. If you like what you hear and see, head over to the seller and get it. Tell ‘em I sent you