Whoever says it’s too early to celebrate Halloween is plain and simply wrong, especially when there’s a cute, pumpkin-headed character waiting to welcome you into its world. The Tale of the Cartographer is a delightful, pixel art platformer that issues a tiny protagonist the task of exploring an alluring world.
Assuming the role of an adorable, pumpkin-headed cartographer, you must travel the length and breadth of the world in order to document its expanse. As you go about your travels, abstract characters will interact with you, useful items will be around to aid your progression, and sign posts will be dotted around gameplay to add extra sections to the map. The game’s sub plot also holds a mystery to unravel, as the previous cartographer left the job before completing the map.
Judging by AlphaBetaGamer’s gameplay video, The Tale of the Cartographer looks extremely inviting with its soft colors and a roster of interesting creatures. These creatures produce a nonsensical language when you speak to them – similar to The Legend of Zelda franchise – and its artistic style looks similar to A Boy and His Blob. The game’s sound design has an echo throughout, especially during moments when characters speak, adding to its other-worldly vibe. Gentle music accompanies your exploration and the cartographer’s billowing cape is another pleasing addition to the protagonist’s design – if the pumpkin head wasn’t enough to win you over.
The Tale of the Cartographer’s prototype takes about 10 minutes to play and uses very simple mechanics to introduce you to this world. It’s also been compared to the work of Studio Ghibli, in the sense that you enter into an uncharted world – feeling somewhat like a dream sequence – and experience an array of head-tilting creatures along the way. Once you begin charting this world in the demo, it’s likely that you’ll be excited for more. However, The Tale of the Cartographer does not have a release date just yet.
Another Ghibli-inspired title is coming to the Nintendo Switch and PC sometime in April, and its hand-painted designs are perfect to disappear into. Hoa was announced back in December as a 2D platformer by PM Studios and Skrollcat Studio, accompanied by an original soundtrack – recorded live – which aids the game’s sense of escapism.
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