Just released for PC gamers is The Curfew, an intriguing click-based adventure and puzzle game, from game designers Littlecloud and published by Channel 4. Currently in beta form, it is free to play and quite different from other freebies online today. Endorsed by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Equality Human Rights Commission, The Curfew is a fabulous little game that addresses real-world issues of authoritarianism, civil liberties, and public safety.
The Curfew is set in a rather dystopic, futuristic version of London, with civil liberties ignored and a police state enforeced. Supposedly, increased terrorist incidents prompted citizens to elect a heavily pro-militarization government, one that enacted legislature to curtail the rights of citizens in the interests of increasing public safety and security. The game is focused around the most recent act, known as the “Curfew”, which appears to be a nation-wide curfew during the evening. Citizens must stay indoors during this time or face arrest.
You take the role of a character breaking curfew, as part of some sort underground resistance organization. Players are given important information that could “bring down Parliament”, but are tasked with deciding who they can and cannot trust in their quest to pass the vital information on. So far, it appear that there are 4 main characters that can be interviewed and interacted with, although only one is unlockable so far (updated weekly). Players are given glimpses of what brought each character to this particular safehouse and must choose their questions carefully. Ask the wrong questions and the character may turn against you, ask the right ones and gain rapport with them. You also have to find if you can trust these individuals with your information, or if they are a government plant.
Gameplay seems to be similar to most point-and-click adventure and puzzle games, yet the focus is using live actors with a computer generated background. It is quite polished and has a very professional feel to it, even for a free game. Nothing is required to be downloaded and installed, rather the game loads and plays in your web browser (I used Firefox and it worked fine, except for a few laggy portions when using the in-game cell phone/pda device).
As a long time reader of the popular web blog, Rock Paper Shotgun (focused on PC Gaming), I was introduced to The Curfew on their website, as one of their writers (Kieron Gillen)was the head script writer for the game. The narration and character scripts are excellent, feels quite natural and flows well. Actors seem to be well chosen too, at least from initial impressions.
Stay tuned for more updated to The Curfew, as Channel 4 should have the next set available next week. Check it out at http://www.thecurfewgame.com .