Just don’t expect to see enraged demon foxes and ninjas here.
If you observe the gaming industry lately, you will notice that old-school point and click adventure games are trying to make a comeback. First with remastered editions and then with some neat, fresh ideas, out of the blue. Saucer-Like belongs to the new games. It was released only recently and it was developed by Fosfatina Ediciones. I don’t blame you if you never heard of them, this is their very first attempt to develop a game.
So, what is Saucer-Like? Chances are you never heard of it or maybe you skipped it on Steam, completely ignoring it. I knew it was one of those games that slide by unnoticed and I decided to take my chances and try it out. It’s an anime-inspired point and click adventure game, while the characters and overall setting are very similar to Naruto. At first I got excited, but then I started noticing the problems and the mistakes that had been done.
You play as Yanagi, a young member of a clan that lives in the forest. As you wake up, you realise that it’s the day of a very important ritual that directly involves you. The game is set on the day of this ritual, following your choices and their outcomes. The ritual is passed down from father to son and mother to daughter and whether you choose to do it or not will affect your role in the village. You will either unite with them, or be apart forever. Meanwhile, the rest of the village have their own problems that are linked to your decision somehow and struggle with the potential consequences. The overall story and narration are heavily inspired by the Japanese culture, even going as far as giving Japanese names to the characters. They even talk like they are anime characters. Kudos for that, it’s more enjoyable than you think.
I have to note that the game’s plot is lacking a lot of details. There’s no exposition, not that anyone minds, no texts, nothing that can give you some details about this ritual and the story of the village. Indeed, there are some references about the clan’s culture and faith, but overall, the plot is confusing and lacking in facts. What is this ritual? Why must Yanagi do it? What happens when it begins? Who started it? It’s like you where watching Naruto from the beginning and suddenly, you skip directly in the middle of Naruto Shippuden. You get the very general concept, but many details elude you. The story could have been a tad better written and the developers could have added a couple of texts in the game that explain what is everything.
Saucer-Like could not be simpler and easier to play. No complex mechanics, just your mouse and a lot of conversations to read. As you can expect, you can click on stuff to listen to Yanagi explain what is the thing you’re looking or leave a generic comment about it, or make him carry it with him since it’s required to progress in the game. Clicking on people opens up the conversation panel and I advise you to read carefully what each character says, since you get a couple of information about the game’s plot.
I managed to understand the message that the game wanted to pass on: “It’s all about finding your role in society and play your part in it”. While I admit that the message is somewhat reasonable, I could not stand for the whole “break-free-from-society” feel the game threw at me at certain points. Sometimes, Yanagi is behaving like your generic teenager that has no friends and simply sits in class alone, claiming that “people suck” and “I’m better off on my own”. This made me feel like bashing Yanagi’s head on his tapestry at some points, but I managed to avoid that.
Beyond that, the gameplay has nothing flashy or unexpectable. You have the option to help as many villagers as you want, by doing quests like finding one’s sister in the woods or bringing materials to the village’s smith. For that, you will explore, gather items that are required to complete certain tasks and solve puzzles. Nothing too difficult. As soon as you complete a puzzle, the game rewards you with some pretty nice cutscenes that progress the story.
In general, the game does not last long. You can complete it in about 2 hours, maybe 3 if you want to finish every task. As for replayability, I can’t say it’s doing well here. While I kind of enjoyed it, I must admit I won’t play Saucer-Like any time soon. The only reason it escaped predictability in my first playthrough was its messed-up plot and since I know what happens now, I can’t think of anything to bring me back.
One last thing: while I understand the developers are Spanish, I don’t understand how they managed to make so many grammatical and spelling mistakes during translation. The game in English has a lot of errors and some of them will seriously make you cringe.
Graphics – Sound
Artistically, I have few complaints here. The game was hand-drawn and that is pretty obvious once you observe the enviroments. As I said before, it’s taken much of its inspiration from Naruto. Saucer-Like‘s protagonist is a blond teenager that lives somewhat distanced from the other villagers and the entire village relies on him and his choices for its well-being. See the similarities? At least, Yanagi is not the happy-go-lucky person Naruto is. He’s more serious and gloomy, almost like an emo.
The enviroments are pretty neat. The village has plenty of areas to explore, each unique and littered with everyday items. From Yanagi’s hut that is your generic teenager’s home, to the library that is full of scrolls and tapestries, every area is beautiful and nicely portrayed. The only drawback I noticed was the lack of detail in cutscenes, since the background feels empty in most of them.
As for the sound, it depends on the music you like to hear. Saucer-Like has organic music, with many traditional Japanese touches here and there. It’s calm and soothing, but since the game has no combat, it lacks tension. Not that it’s a bad thing. I must admit I enjoyed it, but it becomes somewhat boring in some areas. At least, the music fits well with the game’s theme and atmosphere.
Well, it’s pretty cheap. Can’t say it’s worth it that much though, since the game lacks proper storytelling and duration. There are many adventures out there, old and new, that are far more enjoyable, last a long more than Saucer-Like and have more complex characters than your generic anime villagers. I recommend it only if you have spare money and feel too bored to play your usual games for the weekend. You will definitely enjoy the game if you are into reflecting an individual’s role in the society and all the problems and reflections that come from this kind of thinking. It could have been better, but it fails in so many things, you’ll have to actually try your best to reach the end.
- Beautiful, hand-drawn art.
- The relaxing music fits nicely in the game's theme.
- Heavy influences from the Japanese culture and anime.
- The game is essentially an interactive anime.
- Relaxing and easy thanks to its casual gameplay.
- It only lasts 2-3 hours.
- The story has many plot holes and little background.
- Some cutscenes lack detail in the background.
- No challenge and no threats at all.
- Character development is lacking somewhat.
- Many spelling and grammatical errors for English texts.
- Its reflections are somewhat immature, like a teenager's.