After seeing Incantamentum on Twitter, I immediately downloaded the demo and had every intention to play it when life got in the way; reviews of time-demanding games, kids wanting to be fed (mine), and general things that fellow humans do.
With a bit of time on my hands, i.e. time management (I looked at my notes that I wanted to cover this title), I sat down, mouse in hand for a decent point and click adventure, even if it were a short experience.
You see, this Incantamentum write-up is based on the playable demo currently available on Steam, which was initially released for the Steam Autumn games festival. It’s free, I have time, and it’s a point and click? Ding dong.
Incantamentum PC Preview
I was immediately wowed by the visuals. That’s not something you’d typically say about pixelated graphics when we have the PlayStation 5 out tomorrow here in Blighty, but the aesthetic choice in Incantamentum is a nod to PC adventure fandom.
If you remember big box games, or even if you enjoyed Thimbleweed Park (which I STILL haven’t played despite owning for a couple of years!!), then you’ll love the presentation, which is set in Bewlay (Beaulieu) in England, Victorian times.
I’ve always had a penchant for Victorian England, not because I’m a limey, but something is alluring and mystical about the era. Not that I’m one of those who feel they were born in the wrong time – the Victorians were notoriously backward in their views, and despite what you read on Twitter, we have advanced since then. Mildy.
Dialogue is text-based, which was a minor disappointment, and having the classic adventurer’s font was nice. Still, on a 1440p monitor, it was a little ugly to read in its pixelated form – contrary to what I said about the gorgeous visuals.
The build-up to the story reminded me of Amiga games – not the ones you’ve heard of, but the more obscure. That’s a massive compliment as I felt the game had already taken years off me as I was reliving my youth.
For Local People
Ok, presentation is confirmed, and it has a nostalgic feel about it, but what is Incantamentum all about? A ‘Leonard Shoulder’ has requested your expertise to excavate a site. Specialising in antiquities, you play Thomasina Bateman and arrive in Belway to meet up with him.
“This is a local shop for local people. We’ll have no trouble here” was in my thoughts from the outset. It has that mysterious, clicky aura that stems from local places where the residents spot an outsider a mile off. You get that impression when a resident asks why you’re here.
This unwelcome atmosphere stays with you throughout, the locals believing you to be dangerous to the community and worst of all, a graverobber. They have no time for you other than the barkeep, and that’s only because you’re a paying customer.
Securing a room for the night, you get changed into your Amelia Earhart garb and head back downstairs to meet Mr Shoulder. Only he’s late, so you end up talking to another local – again, giving you the attention as you buy him an ale. But when he takes a little too long to come back from the John, you start to wonder where this is all taking us.
Entering the toilet to search for the local is where it all starts to get that hint of the occult as an ominous score and ambience creeps into the background, and further investigation proves fruitless.
Just as I was getting into it, the demo ended, and now I have to come to conclusions about what happens next, without any proper clues other than a cat. I have my suspicions.
Incantamentum is a definite throwback to the classic point and click, and as this genre was one of my favourite storytellers growing up, it was bliss to play this, albeit, brief bliss. Cloak and Dagger Games have it scheduled for a Q1/Q2 2021 release, which to be fair, isn’t that long a wait, but that hasn’t stopped me adding it to my wishlist.
How about you do the same; play the demo then add to your list for the eventual release as this is worth the attention for point and click fans.