One of the stalls in the Pax Rising section of Pax Aus 2023 had many stand-out games, but Letters to Arralla stood out for one reason in particular: the main character’s butt. Yes, that’s right: in this game, you play as a cute little turnip who jiggles his butt all around the town of Arralla to deliver letters to its veggie inhabitants as a temporary postie. It’s a puzzle-exploration game that fits squarely into the “cozy” genre, created by the brand new studio Little Pink Clouds.
As an adorable turnip with a bubble butt, the demo has you explore the island of Allarra to deliver the letters in your possession. The buildings on the island do not have numbers or street names, so you have to figure out which letter to give to what building by using the context clues on the letter itself; they all come with a little icon or drawing on the envelope that indicates the correct recipient. It’s not especially difficult, but it’s obviously not designed with challenge in mind. Rather, it’s designed to allow you to explore the beautiful island and read some amusing mail.
Director and lead 3D artist Chantel Eagle told me the tale of how a silly little 3D character she created for projects for her bachelor at RMIT stayed with her and inspired her to make Letters to Arralla. This little turnip’s design has changed over the development cycle, but their jiggly butt has remained constant. The decision to make the rest of the characters vegetables naturally flowed afterward, which also helped cut down on the complexity required on the 3D models.
The beautiful island of Arralla is a fictional town inspired by Australian bushland and coast. Exploring Arralla, I certainly saw the evidence of that; the environment evokes places I’ve been like Mornington Peninsula and Lord Howe Island, even to the extent of having little tourist plaques that tell the story of Arralla’s founding. Sound designer Ben Houghton tells me he put dedicated work into making the island’s sounds evoke the same local atmosphere.
Letters to Arralla is still deep in development, so the demo still had wide open areas of bush that Chantel says will soon be populated with more characters and buildings. The full game will take place over 7 days, and will have multiple little character arcs and stories to complete.
Letters to Arralla doesn’t currently have a release date, and will take another estimated year before it’s complete. We will keep a close eye on this little turnip to watch how he develops!