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Kickstarter rises for Cotton Game's Sunset Hills

Kickstarter rises for Cotton Game's Sunset Hills
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Narrative-driven, hand-drawn postwar puzzle adventure coming to PC in August, with mobile and consoles to follow

Cotton Game is best known for its prolific catalogue of obscure, esoteric puzzlers such as One Way: The Elevator, Dad's Monster House and the Mr. Pumpkin and Isoland series. But now the indie developer has set its sights on completing Sunset Hills, a character- and narrative-driven adventure, and has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help do it. 

Populated entirely by anthropomorphic dogs, Sunset Hills takes place in a fictional world at a time much like our own post-WWI era. Society is slowly recovering from the devastation wrought by the war, and Nico, the protagonist, is a veteran who has just published his first book. Now, with notebook in hand, Nico decides to take a train trip around the world in order to visit his former comrades. Although they went "through fire and water together during the war," they have since gone their own ways to lead their own different lives, and Nico plans to meet them on their own turf. Along the way he will "meet all kinds of people, witness all kinds of things, run into all kinds of troubles, and solve all kinds of problems by all kinds of means." Yet Nico is still recovering too, and in experiencing these new adventures, he "begins to recall his old memories of the war piece by piece." In the process, the "true intention of Nico's journey" will begin to come clear. 

While still a point-and-click adventure game, Sunset Hills promises to look and play much differently than Cotton Game's usual output. Gone is the more abstract cartoony appearance of, say, an ISOLAND4, in favour of a beautiful hand-painted watercolour aesthetic meant to resemble picture books. Blending 2D characters with 3D scenes, the design is meant to "depict a relaxing and peaceful post-war world, containing hundreds of puppies of varying shapes and personalities and Victorian-inspired city buildings." Another departure from the developer's norm is that instead of a plethora of brain-bending puzzles, the focus here will be more story-driven, whether you need to "help others, assist in solving crimes, [or] evade chases." You'll still get to explore the environments, "obtaining information and clues from conversations, interacting with scenes to obtain a variety of items and props, and then using, combining, and disassembling them with the right props to find a solution," but you'll also get the chance to enter Nico's memories in order to learn more about his experiences in the war as "reality and the past intertwine."

Having been in self-financed development for over five years already, the first two of five planned chapters of Sunset Hills are nearly complete, projected to take about 6-7 hours to play. However, in order to polish them for release and finish developing the next three installments, the developer has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise a modest $6,800 (US) by July 28th. If successful, we could see the game launched on Steam for Windows PC as early as August. Note, though, that even for backers, the remaining chapters will need to be purchased separately as DLC upon completion. Ultimately the game is expected to be ported to mobile and console platforms as well.


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