Legions of Animal Crossing fans will soon have a reason to switch to something better. How does getting paid while playing your favourite game sounds? My Neighbor Alice (MNA), developed by game studio veteran Antler Interactive, recently launched their pre-alpha version of the game. Our editorial team managed to get a Steam access code (fyi: no favours were asked by the way. We queued in line like everyone else and got lucky when we received the code) and got our anxious hands on the game as soon as we could.
Running the Game
After activating MNA successfully on Steam, we had to enter our Chromia vault account details. The login was smooth and we were on our way to the introduction splash screen for MNA (see above feature image).
Choosing your Avatar
The first step you have to do is to select your game avatars. All game avatars are presented in nice 3D. Although the level of details are simple (tracking the design theme of Animal Crossing), the smoothness of the graphics compensated for the lack of details.
(one of the 3D avatar)
(another 3D avatar)
After you have christened your avatar (we called ours Lars), you are next immersed into the game play!
You start off your adventure in MNA on a dock. The story is that there was a storm and somehow you landed up on the island’s dock. There, you meet an NPC (Non-Player Character) who will engage with you and assign you the first quest which is simply to meet Alice.
(your main character on the island’s dock)
The 3D panning and zooming were smooth. Moving around with the controls was easy as well. The experience of Antler Interactive in designing games shone through when every little details were taken care of to onboard new players onto the game. It was not overwhelming and anyone should be able to get on the action pretty easily.
(moving around in full 3D mode was smooth)
The perspective and view angle of your main character was pretty spot on. Although at some points, some polygons from the leaves were blocking the view of the main character, most of the other movements, zooms and panning were smooth. One can also select either the 30 or 60 Frame Per Second rate. Naturally, most of us would choose the 60 FPS.
After meeting with Alice, we were assigned our second task. We managed to talk to all of the NPCs on the island and was awarded with some gifts.
Being gamers ourselves, we were not let down by this pre-alpha release. Even though the features are basic (just a few NPCs on an island dotted with a few houses and objects), the stability of the game (no crashes from our play test) and the smoothness of the graphics give a strong assurance that this game will be hugely welcomed when it is equipped with all the bells and whistles.
Like all new technologies, games have always been one of the strong vector which propels mass market adoption.
At the current Alice’s price, we feel its trajectory has only one way to go – up and up – especially once demand and adoption of MNA proves itself.
We look forward to the next test version of MNA.