The Almost Gone from Playdigious and Happy Volcano is a charming narrative-driven puzzle adventure with a minimalist presentation and fun gameplay mechanics. Learn more in our The Almost Gone review!
Your story begins in the house for what will be Act I, setting up a very compelling adventure told through text as you interact with different objects in each small, self-contained diorama. You must interact with objects so that you can start to find some clues that can lead you down the path of truth so that you can finally learn what is really going on. Why was your life cut short? Was it fate, or did something else get in the way? This and more is what you’ll learn during your time with The Almost Gone. The game has been created by way of a collaboration between publisher Playdigious, indie studio Happy Volcano, award-winning author Joost Vandecasteele, and sound designer Yves De Mey, who worked on the Oscar-nominated film Rundskop.
You’ll control the game by moving a pointer around the screen with the left analog stick or the D-Pad, pressing the A button to interact with things. Once you’ve found something of interest, you will get to read a short description – and maybe some additional dialogue – as well as prompts to continue interacting so that you can investigate some more. Found a mysterious old box – almost feeling like a tiny treasure chest – sitting on top of a bed? Then perhaps you press the L, R, ZL or ZR buttons to change the camera’s perspective so that you can start to search for the handle that it’s missing so that you can open it up and review its contents.
Rotating each small diorama to get a new point of view on things is going to be a constant during your time with The Almost Gone, and this also applies to rotate each new item that you find so that you can get a better view of it with the right analog stick. Once you have an item in your inventory, you can pull it up with the X button, so that you can inspect it once again with the Y button, or decide to use it by pressing the A button and then moving it over another item, which will usually reward you with a new object.
The right analog stick will also be used for moving between the different dioramas you’ll explore in each of the game’s acts, so be sure to pay attention to the arrows on the edges of each diorama that will clue you into which way you can go. Some dioramas you’ll be able to explore in full right from the start, while others will need you to revisit them a bit later once you’ve found the clue that is needed for solving the particular puzzle they have to offer. A rattling spinning globe displaying different constellations you can click on to light up is usually a good way of knowing that there’s more than meets the eye.
The Almost Gone is a hard game to review, not because it’s not fun – quite the opposite -, but because talking too much about it could end up ruining this experience for gamers out there. The first act alone is going to take you 30-45 minutes to solve depending on your experience with point and click puzzle games, and once you’ve completed that bizarre chapter, things will only get weirder and weirder. I do recommend that you take this one for a spin since it offers a weird, bizarre, yet relaxing take on a narrative-driven point and click puzzle adventure experience. The Almost Gone is out tomorrow on Nintendo Switch for a $14.99 asking price.
This The Almost Gone review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Playdigious.