If it isn't video games, Edie doesn't care about it. She's been playing games since the N64 era, and only spent enough time away from her 3DS to earn a Bachelor in Games Design from RMIT.
Henry Mosse and the Wormhole Conspiracy is a point-and-click puzzle adventure set decades into the future, where mankind has taken to the stars. Protagonist Henry Mosse is a 15-year-old who works with his mother on the family business, an intergalactic delivery service. An opportunity to visit a new and exciting planet soon turns into a grand quest to save the universe from a conspiracy. Developer Bad Goat Studios, local to Melbourne, have put their own Aussie touch on this tried-and-true setting.
I was able to play through the first few chapters of the game before speaking to developer and designer Ezra Artman, who shared his thoughts on his game and how it fits into the Australian indie scene.
Like the point and click adventure games that inspired it, Henry Mosse doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s like one of those cheesy Saturday morning cartoons: characters will drop made-up alien phrases and curses like ‘snargleblast!’, and the plot and character motivations are simple and easy to understand. That’s not a bad thing – it’s a very comfy premise, and it takes no effort at all to get invested. The art style is vibrant and unique, with each location in the Inner and Outer Galaxy.
Inspired by classic point and clicks of the past like Monkey Island and Kings Quest, mechanics include picking up items of interest and using them to solve various puzzles, as well as occasionally combining them for some more creative solutions. There is nothing too groundbreaking about this, but it doesn’t need to be. As long as the puzzles are satisfying and the dialogue is fun, Henry Mosse doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel.
“There’s definitely a lot of Australianisms and lingo and humour that’s been brought into the game”
Artman says the decision to include Australian influences in the game hadn’t been in their early plan for the game. Originally following a more American lead, it became more and more important to Bad Goat to do something a little more “close to home”.
“There’s definitely a lot of Australianisms and lingo and humour that’s been brought into the game, and hopefully that will land with a global audience,” Artman told us.
Henry himself is the picture of an Aussie teenage ratbag: he’s well-meaning but has a penchant for causing trouble and a ‘she’ll be right’ attitude. It’s strange to hear a real Aussie accent coming from a video game protagonist, only because they’re so uncommon. We’re used to hearing cringy accents from American voice actors trying their best, but for the first few hours of Henry Mosse I was cringing for a different reason – the same cringe I get from hearing my own voice played back to me. It’s too real!
Another important theme of the game is family. Henry is an adopted child to a dark-skinned family, sending the message right off the bat that family is not just about bloodlines. Another character is a human like Henry, but whose brother is an alien that resembles a whale. And rather than being a background detail, Henry’s relationship with his mother and grandfather take centre stage for the story, which is sure to result in a heartwarming tale. Henry’s mother takes part in the adventure alongside Henry, which is a welcome addition to the all too few ‘adventure mum’ character.
Henry Mosse and the Wormhole Conspiracy is out now on Steam, and if you’re a fan of point and click adventures it could be one to check out. It’s yet another example of the great indies being developed right here in Melbourne. For the full interview with Bad Goat developer Erza Artman, tune in to the Checkpoint Podcast on your preferred podcasting service.