Last year's first-person interactive mystery thriller drama Virginia from Variable State has finally arrived on DRM-free digital shores thanks to GOG.
Walking simulators have become part of gaming culture, and even if many gamers, especially adventure gamers, bemoan the loss of puzzles or actual challenges besides going from one place to the next, interacting with objects, persons, or triggering something in the environment to move the story forward, this sub-genre still tries to innovate to set itself apart from cinema. Virginia can't be any more divisive, as it actually embraces the use of montage, giving the player room to watch scenes from different perspectives, while having clear visual and narrative references to David Lynch's work like Twin Peaks.
The story about two FBI agents investigating the disappearance of a young boy in the surrounding area of small town Kingdom in Virginia doesn't sound particularly new (especially in the wake of the resurrected X-Files series), but having no spoken or written dialogue to convey it is unique. Aesthetically, it looks very much like Firewatch that was released in the same year, meaning that its warm environment color palette and expressionist character models create an unreal atmosphere. Its on-rails gameplay and lack of inventory combination puzzles or brain-teasers as in Puzzle Agent or Puzzle Agent 2 won't be for everyone, but as an interesting storytelling experiment for those curious enough to venture into surrealism it should deliver.
The game is now available on GOG with a 20% discount that will end on February 14, 2PM UTC.