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I recently got to see a demo of the upcoming indie adventure RPG, Thirsty Suitors, from Outerloop Games and Annapurna. While the game is already interesting just to look at it, it was the complex main character who caught my attention. In the slice of game I saw, narrated by creative director Chandana Ekanayake, we saw protagonist Jala steeling herself to return to her hometown after a ruinous break-up.
As the main character, Jala is confronting her previous mistakes and what led her to the low point her life seems to be at currently. The game features turn-based battles against Jala’s various exes — including one named Sergio in the demo — as a sort of exaggerated portrayal of her grappling with her failed relationships. There are several other mechanics, including skateboarding and cooking, which I saw briefly.
But what struck me about the story was that Jala is explicitly shown to not be perhaps the greatest judgement. She’s not a bad person, but her screw-ups have hurt many of the people in her life. This is something I feel I don’t see often enough in games: A story told by the person who is, by most definitions, the villain of the story. Jala’s exes are all hostile at the news of her return, not willing to believe she’s changed.
Thirsty Suitors is very striking game, with beautiful art and character design, and energetic mechanics. It’s got great music and potentially a fun story. I look forward to seeing the final product, which is set to launch on PC sometime later this year.
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