The vibrant realm of video games once again took centre stage at PAX Australia 2023, and we were privileged to delve into the charming world of Until Then. Hosted by Ukiyo Studios and developed by the gifted folks at Polychroma Games from The Philippines, this narrative adventure shows us how much talent is coming out of South-East Asia.
We went hands-on with a 30-minute demo of the game, following the life of Mark. Until Then is no ordinary game; it’s a journey through the intricate maze of teenage life. The narrative a typical high schooler managing the balance between his daily routines, friendships, and insecurities. But, as often happens in tales filled with intrigue, Mark’s life takes an unexpected turn.
A mysterious meeting ignites a chain reaction that shatters the fabric of his reality. People disappear into the unknown, and memories blur into an enigmatic haze. Mark and his friends are thrust into an adventure filled with secrets, leading them on a quest to decode the mystery before it’s too late.
In playtime, we only scratched the surface but had plenty of time to fall in love with the characters. Mark is very blasé with current life, forgetting to (or even just choosing not to) complete a group presentation until the day of. As you convince your classmates in an impressive representation of texting, you eventually meet up with another classmate to complete the presentation and choose how much effort you really want to put into it.
The outcome is either a surprisingly well-thought-out presentation on Crime and Punishment or a ham-fisted slideshow of transitions and celebrity photos. It’s incredibly charming either way and harkens back to familiar teenage experiences so well.
The quality is clearly seen from the surface with a stunning art style. Until Then is crafted in captivating hand-drawn pixel art, boasting a warm and immersive colour palette. The world comes alive in 3D, replete with intricate details, shadows, reflections, and dynamic lighting. This fusion creates a visually stunning and emotionally resonant gaming experience. It has a very similar look and feel to A Space for the Unbound, a game we reviewed highly earlier in 2023.
Until Then proudly draws inspiration from the rich landscapes and culture of the Philippines. Players traverse a meticulously crafted world influenced by this vibrant nation. From bustling cityscapes to serene coast towns, the game captures the essence of a fictional Philippines. Immerse yourself in the nuances of local mannerisms and culture, and step into a recent past filled with nostalgic charm.
We’re looking forward to delving into this nostalgic high-school adventure sometime in the near future and will be waiting for updates from the team at Ukiyo Studios and Polychroma Games.