Storytelling in games is typically done in a relatively linear fashion. Even when you add in options, those are often, especially these days, more narrative choice than plot choices, with Telltale being perhaps the most famous for this with plots that unfold the same while your individual narrative will vary somewhat. While that is true for AAA games in general, in the indie field of video games we see games more willing to experiment with storytelling and gameplay design, which leads us to Vidar by Razbury Games.
In Vidar you play as the Stranger who has arrived through a snowstorm in the titular village and find out that in it one person is dying each night to a mysterious Beast. As you begin to explore what has happened in the caves beneath it, you find yourself also dragged into some of the stories of the townsfolk with various quests. Quests come in a variety of forms and types, some dealing with the story of the Beast haunting the town, while others are about the stories of the inhabitants. The theme of death and how we grieve runs through the game, and characters react when things occur within the world such as someone dying or a completed quest, which alters what quests are available, which will come, and the way character arcs progress throughout the game.
Kickstarted and Greenlit back in 2015, Vidar's approach to storytelling is rare, and it approaches its cave gameplay in a similar manner. While in the cave there will always be puzzles, in four major areas with consistent themes (such as the ice cave), the exact puzzles and which permutations of mechanics appear in the cave are random as the lead developer, Dean Razavi, has designed numerous puzzles per region that the game draws from. Even more so, how you interact with them changes as the different quests have differing rewards and which quests are open depend on who has or has not died at certain points.
If you want to learn more about Vidar you can read our old interview with Dean about the game, or stay tuned for our preview and a further interview with him coming soon.
Vidar is on Steam Early Access today for $14.99, 25% off its normal price of $20 for launch.