Picture this: you’re on a trip across the sea, and your boat goes down. You regain consciousness, washed up on a beach near a man-made tower. You can tell there’s someone inside, but a knock on the door provokes no answer. With nowhere to go but forward, you press on, passing such strange sights as a door standing alone on the beach and an elaborate set of ruins.
You eventually come across a statue…which speaks to you telepathically. She introduces herself as the Oracle, though she insists that you can call her Ora. Despite you explaining to her that you’re looking for a way to get back to civilization, she hands you a strange device that looks like a phone and tells you to head east to make friends with a guy who lives in an old seaplane.
Finding the plane, the guy inside doesn’t seem keen to talk and tells you to return in the morning. Ora tells you that the nearby lighthouse would be a great place to rest, and once you’ve finally caught your forty winks, you return to the seaplane…and see a dude wearing flip-flops, a speedo, and an endearingly nervous expression. He has wings on his back, and he introduces himself as Hermes.
This is roughly the first fifteen minutes of the PAX East demo I got to play for Mythwrecked: Ambrosia Island and I have to say that it left a very immediate impression on me. The game’s splash screen had already enticed me with images of the cast, featuring very different interpretations of these familiar character archetypes than I’d ever seen before.
The Greek pantheon is no stranger to popular modern adaptation. The original God of War series depicts them as massive targets on which Kratos must exact his revenge, the hit musical Hadestown updates them as the gods of twentieth-century America, and the children’s fantasy series Percy Jackson and the Olympians interprets them as absentee parents to legions of half-mortal offspring.
I can’t say I’ve ever seen them as eccentric recluses before. Still, seeing as how the Mythwrecked islanders have all lost their memories of godhood but retained their quirky personalities, it feels like a natural fit. While this demo ended before I could make a second friend, that cast shot told me that the development team at Polygon Treehouse came at this with ideas for how to make this story feel fresh.
Each of the islanders has a lot to say, too – the game has an extensive dialogue tree system that allows you to ask pretty much anyone about any keyword you’ve learned, so I happily asked Hermes and Ora every little question that the player character, Alex, could think of. Some options are flags for story progress, but many are just there to provide the player with opportunities to discuss the world with the people living in it.
Each of the islanders has a separate friendship meter that is built up by performing character-specific tasks. For example, Hermes first asked me for help feeding his seagull friends around the islands, then revealed that he was missing some of his possessions that might have washed back up on the shore. These turn out to be his shoes and hat, and returning them to him was the key to unlocking a few of his memories. By this point, Alex had some idea of what was going on, but Hermes was having trouble reconciling his memories which were clearly of the distant past, with the modern world he lived in.
The section of Ambrosia Island I was able to explore also hid a few secrets that turned out to be customization options that Alex can add to her lighthouse base, and I’m eager to see what else might be hidden in the full release.
The more I played of Mythwrecked, the more I realized just how well the themes of a cozy friendship-sim title could fit with an idea like the pantheon – after all, just like the ancient Greeks, Alex is gathering favor from the gods of the island. The twist that they don’t know who they actually are just makes everything more compelling.
While I only got to see a small section before the main event of Mythwrecked truly began, what I saw left me eagerly waiting to jump in and get to know this crazy cast fully. Will there be a twist at the end? Probably, but the “cozy game” is an itch I haven’t scratched in a long time, and the art style, story, and relaxing vibe of Ambrosia Island tell me this might finally be the experience I’ve been looking for.
Mythwrecked: Ambrosia Island is coming to Steam.
For some of our other PAX East coverage, check out Semy’s roundup of his favorite upcoming titles from Chorus Worldwide.
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