Verne: The Shape of Fantasy is an imaginative and visually stunning adventure game that pays homage to the great works of Jules Verne. Developed by Gametopia and published by Assemble Entertainment, this title presents players with a beautifully crafted alternate universe where Verne, the esteemed author, becomes embroiled in a war between a totalitarian government and a resistance cell led by the enigmatic Captain Nemo. Through an engaging narrative and captivating art design, Verne: The Shape of Fantasy brings the world of Jules Verne to life.
Fantastical Journey Inspired by Jules Verne
The game presents a richly detailed and captivating alternate 19th-century universe, carefully crafted to reflect the unique world-building of Jules Verne. The continents, resembling monstrous shapes, and the intricately designed environments provide a captivating backdrop for the story. The attention to detail in the setting is evident through the discovery of documents, audio logs, and recruiting posters that shed light on the political landscape and the ongoing war between The Nation and Captain Nemo’s resistance.
Tale of Intrigue and Exploration
Verne: The Shape of Fantasy’s narrative sets a strong foundation for the game, immersing players in a world influenced by the works of Jules Verne. The story begins with a gripping in medias res opening, introducing key characters and establishing their motivations. However, as the plot progresses, it delves into Verne’s internal conflict, which may feel familiar to those who have encountered similar themes in other media. While the story occasionally loses steam with its predictability, it remains an engaging exploration of Verne’s mindset and the repercussions of wielding the power of Atlantean artifacts.
Pixelated Work of Art
The standout feature of Verne: The Shape of Fantasy is undoubtedly its breathtaking art design. The game utilizes pixel art to create visually stunning environments that evoke a sense of wonder and adventure. Each location, meticulously designed with vibrant colors and intricate details, immerses players in a fantastical world inspired by Jules Verne’s imagination. The ability to zoom out and take in the panoramic views showcases the painstaking effort put into creating a visually captivating experience.
Audio and Sound
Verne: The Shape of Fantasy’s sound design succeeds in immersing players in its fantastical universe. Ambient sounds, such as rustling leaves, birdsong, and waves crashing, add depth and realism to the environments. Additionally, the atmospheric sounds within the Nautilus, including the steam from its engines and the echoes of metallic pipes, enhance the overall sense of immersion. While the music is serviceable, it fails to leave a lasting impression, and the absence of distinct melodies detracts from the overall experience.
The gameplay in Verne: The Shape of Fantasy strikes a delicate balance between exploration and puzzle-solving. Players navigate a 2D plane, interacting with objects and solving puzzles to progress through the story. The puzzles, although generally straightforward, provide moments of intellectual engagement, offering a pleasant respite from exploration. However, the real strength of the gameplay lies in immersing players in Verne’s world and allowing them to uncover its secrets at their own pace.
Verne: The Shape of Fantasy features impressive voice acting that breathes life into its characters. The voice-over work brings out the logical personality of Verne, portraying him as a moral compass throughout the gameplay experience. Captain Nemo’s voice actor brings a nuanced performance, initially reflecting tempered ambition and gradually succumbing to maddening anger. While there are occasional inconsistencies with accents, the overall voice acting enhances the depth and believability of the characters.
Verne Logs: A Window into Jules Verne’s World
One of the highlights of Verne: The Shape of Fantasy is the inclusion of “Verne Logs”. These logs provide fascinating insights into Jules Verne’s life, his inspirations, and the rationale behind his beloved stories. They honor Verne’s legacy and add an extra layer of depth to the game’s lore. The Verne Logs serve not only as a treat for Verne enthusiasts but also as an educational experience for those less familiar with the author’s works.
- An engaging Jules Verne-inspired narrative, immersing players in an alternate universe.
- Stellar voice acting that brings the characters to life, with standout performances from Verne and Captain Nemo.
- Rich world-building through captivating environmental art design and attention to detail.
- The inclusion of Verne Logs that offer deeper insights into Jules Verne’s life and works.
- Gorgeous pixel art visuals that bring the world of Verne to life.
- Occasional predictability and familiarity in the storytelling, particularly in Verne’s internal conflict.
- Some character sprites and animations do not match the quality of the environmental art design.
- Notable typos and grammatical errors in the captions, although these can be turned off.
- Music that lacks distinctiveness and fails to leave a lasting impact.
Verne: The Shape of Fantasy successfully captures the essence of Jules Verne’s works, providing an immersive adventure that blends engaging storytelling with stunning visual design. While the gameplay may not push the boundaries of innovation, it serves as a vehicle to explore the richly detailed world and discover its secrets. The inclusion of Verne Logs further enhances the experience, offering a deeper understanding of the author’s life and inspirations. Despite minor flaws, Verne: The Shape of Fantasy remains a must-play for Jules Verne enthusiasts and adventure game fans alike, showcasing the enduring appeal of Verne’s legacy in the world of interactive storytelling.
Developer: Gametopia (Spain and Colombia).
Publisher: Assemble Entertainment.
Release date: 8.14.2023
Upcoming platforms: Nintendo Switch.
Available in: English, Spanish, German, French, Simplified Chinese, Japanese and Korean.