Quick Look – Pendula Swing: The Complete Journey

Although I played a ton of point-n-click adventure games throughout the years, my recent relationship with them has been rather rocky. They move slowly by design, and in itself, that’s not a problem for me. But endless walking from place to place, pixel hunting, inventory puzzles, and the now infamous adventure game logic usually lead to me losing interest long before the tale is told.

But I couldn’t resist the concept of Pendula Swing, which drops you into a fantasy version of the 1920s. You play as Brialynne, a dwarven hero who has been living a quiet life on a private island after retiring from adventuring. However, that quiet life is about to be disturbed when she finds herself the victim of a robbery in which the only thing taken is her axe.

If you’re the type of person who avoids side quests, preferring to get on with the main story as quickly and cleanly as possible, I’m sorry to tell you that Pendula Swing is not going to be the game for you. As I was exploring the world, I tended to stop and speak with just about everyone, and that’s the kind of experience I believe the developers were going for. Nearly every character has a story, and those small stories teach you about the world that your character has opted out of for quite awhile now.

Your journal will track tasks you have done, and tasks you have encountered that you have yet to complete. Once you’re a ways into the game, if you find yourself really stuck, you can just visit a nearby phone booth to get put back on the right track, and thankfully, you can indeed travel by map. I’m also pleased to report that in my first two hours of play time, I have yet to encounter a single place where I needed to go pixel hunting or combine esoteric items in my inventory to progress the story.

In fact, Pendula Swing feels a lot like a genre mashup to me – while it’s definitely an adventure game, there are aspects that remind me more of a visual novel, and others that remind me of role playing games. I’ve only encountered a couple of places that felt like puzzles so far, but I have also run into a couple of folks who seem to be interested in dating my character, which isn’t exactly your standard adventure game fare.

There’s a lot going on here, and for some folks, the lack of a strong genre focus might take away from their enjoyment. Personally, I’m finding the whole experience absolutely delightful. I’m not sure how far into the main story I actually am, but according to my journal, I haven’t seen very much at all of what this lovely game has to offer.

In a time where I’m struggling to find something to hold my interest, the hours have just melted away while playing Pendula Swing. It was one of the first games from the Itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality that I fired up, and I’m already looking forward to Valiant Game Studio’s next title Kaleidocraft, which will be coming soon to Steam Early Access.

Itch.io Releases Massive Fundraising Bundle

It probably isn’t news to you that I’m a huge fan of itch.io, and the opportunities afforded independent game developers by it. Sure, it’s a little clunky, a little rough around the edges, but just the fact that this type of platform exists and is supported makes it beautiful.

And when itch.io and independent developers decide to raise some money, they don’t kid around.

The bundle launched with over 740 products included – mostly video games, but also some development assets, books, comics, and tabletop RPG modules, but contributions to the bundle are still pouring in from developers who want to add their offerings to this fantastic deal.

Although there’s a lot of stuff on offer here that’s out of my wheelhouse, on my first pass, I added almost 40 of the items on offer to my library. I still have access to the entirety of the bundle (including new items as they are added), but due to the sheer size of this bundle, you have to manually add items to your library – a decision made by the organizers to prevent massive amounts of library clog.

Also included in the bundle were a handful of games I already own on Steam, like Cook, Serve, Delicious 2, OneShot, Oxenfree, and Verdant Skies, any of which I would recommend without reservation for the price of the entire bundle.

If you’ve never used itch.io, this is the perfect time to set up an account and start loading it up with great indie games. Although they do offer their own launcher, all the games are able to be downloaded, free of DRM, and installed individually.