2021 Indie Games Week 23: Umurangi Generation
Umurangi Generation is absolutely one of my GOTYs this year. Unsurprisingly given how much hype it’s gotten, but some games surpass the hype. Or the hype just can’t capture the actual feeling of playing the game. It’s way of story telling through photographing scenes during a societal collapse works seamlessly. The detail and beauty of the environments, and the complexity of incorporating realistic photography makes the game shine. Also the music is….unquestionably phenomenal. I generally like my games structured, so this kind of game doesn’t usually appeal to me (I wish it did! I wish I liked Pokémon Snap!!!!) so the idea of just going around taking photos is not something I’d really do but….the environments and what’s happening on levels is so great I found myself just quickly taking shitty photos of the level goals so I could focus on taking fun photos for myself.
The game does an incredible job capturing what feels like really human scenes during crises and just living within a world of crises, which felt particularly relevant today after (still) dealing with COVID, BLM uprisings against racism, climate change, conservative politicians, etc. And the fact that you are capturing your own shots gives a real sense of ownership over the photos and involvement in the world that wouldn’t be there if it was just an adventure game. The movement itself is very simple (and kinda shitty to be honest) but none of that matters when the goal is taking photos.
If you haven’t played Umurangi Generation then GET ON IT! The Switch version is what I played and it comes with the DLC and includes gyro aiming with the switch when aiming the camera, which helps a lot and makes the game more fun. It’s definitely one of the best games from the last couple years and it’s the exact sort of authentic political artistic game that I’m always on the look out for. I’ve never played anything like it.