Back to the Dawn busts out on Steam Early Access
Complete version of animal prison break adventure-RPG hybrid coming to include second playable character
For all their good intentions, most adventure game protagonists probably deserve to be sent to jail for all their sticky-fingered shenanigans. In Metal Head Games’ unique Back to the Dawn, that’s exactly what’s happened, and it’s your job to help get him out.
Okay, technically the star of the game – an anthropomorphic fox – is a journalist who has been caught up in a citywide conspiracy and wrongfully incarcerated in a maxium security prison. You’re clearly not meant for life behind bars, so now you must “try to survive and explore your harsh new environment, all while attempting to escape.” With the help of your lawyer, you’ll spend some of your time collecting evidence that could save not only your own hide but the city itself from “great danger.” But you’ve got to be a dutiful inmate as well, so be sure to “follow the rules, or at least try not to get caught.” Along the way you’ll meet a “motley crew of interesting and unique characters” and encounter “all kinds of challenges” for your troubles. But you can choose how to approach them, whether to be “a model prisoner and just try to keep your head down, or … leave a trail of chaos and destruction in your wake.”
Presented from a top-down view and resembling a 16-bit RPG, Back to the Dawn refuses to be pigeonholed into any genre classification. There’s exploration to be done, fellow animal characters to converse with, puzzles to solve and a mystery to unravel, like any traditional adventure. But there are also simulated prison life tasks required to fulfill your obligations, secret areas to sneak into unnoticed, minigames to play either for fun or to perform various physical tasks, and a host of other roleplaying elements with an “open character growth system.” Will you be “a tough guy who lets his fists do the talking, a thief who hides in the shadows, or maybe a smooth talker with some nifty hacking skills?” It’s up to you to decide as you “learn skills, collect equipment, craft tools, and try to go from being new fish to top dog.” But never can you forget your prime goal: escape. From “the laundry room to the infirmary, to the sewers and even the parking lot, every inch of the place is a piece in your intricate jailbreak puzzle.”
The full version of Back to the Dawn isn’t due out for at least a year, including the addition of a second playable character called Bob the Black Panther (not the Marvel superhero), but the game is now available through Steam Early Access, already with a whopping 300,000 words and a projected playtime of over 20 hours just to complete the main storyline.