"Think, again," ends the trailer for the upcoming puzzler Obduction, and I admit I rejoiced in that deliciously placed comma. Obduction is the latest game from Cyan, the studio responsible for the visually enchanting and brutally challenging '90s puzzle games Myst and Riven, and it marks a long-awaited and (Kickstarter-backed) return to form. Only traces of potential puzzles reveal themselves in the trailer for this spiritual successful, but it shows the studio has lost none of the visual style that attracted so many millions of players to their games in the first place.
The three worlds of Hunrath, Mofang, and Villein take center stage here, presenting us vividly colored ruins of Midwestern farmhouses, floating boulders overshadowed by two uncomfortably close moons, and strange, spiky pendulums loitering in metal corridors. The technology of their age held back the original Myst games, thus forcing them to rely on a point-and-click interface that kept system demand to a minimum while delivering memorable artistry, but Obduction allows its players to roam as confidentially and freely through the landscape as they might in a 3D open world Skyrim. But if you insist on moving forward and turning screen by screen, you Luddite you, there's a setting to do so.
Obduction's Kickstarter was successful enough that Cyan managed to meet not only the base $1,100,000 request, but also the extra $200,000 needed to bring the experience to the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. (It didn't, however, meet the $1.7 million needed to add one more world into the mix.)
Little is known about how Obduction performs in action or whether its puzzles demand the same maddening feats of mental strength as the previous releases, but that should change a little over a week from now at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, where convention attendees will be able to test their prowess on the show floor.