That Day We Left is a narrative-driven adventure game inspired by the recent crisis in Syria and other countries in the Levant. Combining resource management mechanics with a character-driven story, That Day We Left aims to deliver an emotionally taxing but important gaming experience.
In That Day We Left, you play as Rashid, a family man looking for a safe haven for himself and his loved ones. As a refugee fleeing from a war-torn country, your voyage to Europe is a turbulent one with factions from both sides of the conflict looking to sabotage your attempt at happiness. But outside forces aren’t the only powers at play. Within your family, tensions run high as the scorching desert sun brings long simmering intrafamily politics to a boil.
While a low-poly art style is popular for games of this nature (both ones that are heavy on the narrative and those funded with an indie shoestring budget), the art style can do the game a little disservice. The Simpsons yellow skin and the stilted animations can make it hard to view the characters as people as they flop and clip emotionlessly through a generic world. However, it is currently an early Alpha build, so there’s plenty of time for these issues to be addressed.
The gameplay of That Day We Left is split into three basics “actions”. You’ll be exploring the world in a point-and-click style to find items and learn about your environment. You’ll then allocate food at the end of each day to ensure your supplies last. You’ll also spend quite a bit of time talking to your fellow travellers, making decisions based on their advice and reassuring worried party members. While the writers have done a good job giving Rashid a decent amount of options for roleplaying in the conversations, at the moment many of the other character suffer from severe “plot-blind” thinking. That is to say, these characters are inflexible or contrarian because the plot calls for them to be, to add unnecessary conflict to situations, and to heighten the drama.
That Day We Left wants to portray its characters as fully-realized three-dimensional people, with hopes and dreams, fears and flaws. But the constant nagging and whining over every decision makes for some incredibly irritating characters. Now to be fair, whiny, irrational characters are a reoccurring problem in most post-apocalyptic survival stories (take any number of characters in The Walking Dead), but because of the game’s subject matter, caring about these characters is necessary to deliver the emotional impact the designers are aiming for. That Day We Left wants to be a game about people, desperation, and the things we will do for the ones we love, and with some careful revisions, we’re sure it will get there. We look forward to seeing more of That Day We Left as it’s an interesting game with some very engaging subject matter.
Download The That Day We Left Alpha Here (Win & Mac)