An historical, story- driven RPG? Yes, you heard that right. In 2022, we are still getting amazing point-and-click, story-driven games from independent creators.
Gerda: A Flame in Winter
Developer: PortaPlay Gaming Aps
Publisher: DON’T NOD
September 1, 2022
“Walk the path of Gerda as her quiet life is turned upside down during the World War 2 occupation of her small Danish village. Choose where to go, how to act, and who to trust in this intimate narrative RPG-lite experience inspired by real life events. How far would you go to protect your loved ones?” – STEAM
Once in a while there will be a game that is simple to play, and I am nothing but grateful for it. Sometimes a break is needed from full-on keyboard controls – with multiple keys to press for way too many actions! In Gerda, all you need is a mouse. Click to move, click to interact – simple, and relaxing, in a way. The simplicity of the play-style lends much to this game, as it allows the player to become more invested in the storyline, and pay attention to details you may need later on. Now, while I’ve never been much of a history buff, I was interested to see how a fictional game could center around the very real events of World War Two.
CHOOSE A SIDE IN THIS RPG
The main protagonist, Gerda, is half-German, and half-Danish. In this game, you must choose how she acts when interacting with either side in the war. Will you help the Nazis? Or side with the Danes? If only it was that simple. Throughout the game, you interact with those staunchly on either side, as well as small side-occupations. You win points with sides, and individuals with every interaction, and action you take. Personally, in my journey so far, I may have not made many wise decisions, but I have the ability to somewhat rectify them in the future. So far, so good… at least I think so.
I’m a sucker for interesting art-styles in any format (shows, comics, you name it!). The art style is simplistic, and paint-like. The characters aren’t full of detail on the screen, but their profile pictures on the side are. Once you see the icons, you can easily see them on the oil-paint-like characters on the screen. The scenes are gorgeous, however, the color scheme actively conveys the solemn nature of the game. The color profiles are very muted in tone, and everything is under snow, which only adds a coldness to every scene.
I’m terrible with RPGs, but the fact this was chosen as a means to portray a historical story was incredible. It truly immerses the player in the game. One wrong move, and you’ll pay for it later on – I know I am. As I play (yes, I’m still playing as I write this – it’s THAT good!), I’m trying to make Gerda neutral, and win favor with all sides… which is harder than it sounds. You have three “perks” you can earn, as well as spend in particular situations that call for it: Wit, Insight, and Compassion. You earn these at the end of a scene/mission when Gerda writes an entry in her journal. The concluding paragraph you choose, earns you a point in one of these categories. I apparently keep choosing paragraphs that earn me “Wit”. What can I say? I’m a sarcastic individual.
The only issue I encountered was the game froze twice. The game was still going, but I couldn’t move. However, that was such a minor inconvenience. I merely exited out of the game, reloaded where the game last saved, and promptly moved passed that point. Other than that? Smooth sailing.
All-in-all, without giving too much away, this is a fascinating take on an RPG-Lite-type game. If you’re more about action, this might not be the game for you. If you don’t mind reading, and enjoy logic, I’d recommend this game. It’s a casual play, and yet, a game you need to pay attention to.