With a freshly stamped release date, Stilstand just left me speechless. It is a mouthful, but it really is a darkly, comedic, philosophical, and artistic game, with everything in between. Just look at some of the drawings and animations and it becomes clear that it is something you only see once.
This title comes from a graphic novel artist Ida Hartmann and Niila Games, and it arrives to PC via Steam, as well as Android and iOS devices via their respective stores. It is an immersive impressionistic story told with the help of artistic visualizations and it sucks the player in with both dark and comedic, but mostly philosophical themes.
Proof of that is the main theme of the game, which is to pose a question to the modern man about his socialization and attempt to explore the alienation of modern living that affects us all, no matter how hard we try to avoid it. OR, in the words of Niila Games, you will date, smoke, drink, and speak to the monster that is actually inside of your apartment.
It is a haunting experience no doubt and it is arriving on August 27th, which is some two weeks from the time of this writing. A word of caution and a warning perhaps Stilstand will also deal with anxiety and loneliness, which may hit the mark a bit more than one might initially think.
At the center of the story is a woman, her loneliness and inner state obvious even on the surface. She is living in Copenhagen and is spending beautiful Summer days in utter desperation, with spectral rainy clouds seemingly only covering the Sun above her head.
As for the gameplay, Stilstand is best described as an interactive graphic novel or a graphic novel that you can play. A motion comic of sorts, it is hand-drawn, deep, and personal, and it spares no expense to make us feel what the author wanted to convey.
In the broader picture, this game deals with emotional fragility and high expectations young people have of life, which seems to be at the root of all our troubles. Of course, there’s the mundane repetitive nature of ordinary life, another day, another sip, another meal, and all these stuff this game will look through a dark, but also a funny keyhole.
But, this interactive graphic novel is still based thoroughly on hope, according to the creators. It draws from the real, personal writings of Mrs. Ida Hartmann, who is an established Danish graphic novelist and artist, as mentioned. The personal feel is present all around, but in terms of gameplay, Stilstand will offer this:
- A dark and comedic observation of real-life through fantastic events
- Exploring themes of isolation, loneliness, and mental health even
- An immersive atmosphere from the pages of a personal graphic novel
- Love, adventures, text messaging, social media, and many other things from real life
- Some side mini-games that are unique and meaningful
- Expressive black & white illustrations
- Genre-bending and expanding cinematic soundtrack
This is the first entry of Niila Games, which is a studio also based in Copenhagen, where Ida is from. They obviously take this title pretty close to the heart but also attempt to change the established gaming stigmas. I sure hope it will be everything I think it will and more! Stilstand comes out on August 27, 2020!
A game that is actually an interactive graphic novel, filled with personal emotions, philosophical themes, and dual outlooks on everyday life is attempting to challenge the industry’s stigmas.