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Indie Games Uprising III: City Tuesday

City Tuesday establishes itself in an unpolluted and economical fashion. The straight-lined stickmen style and use of soft colours upholds a coherent and unique aesthetic design. There are no guns, fisticuffs, awkward romances or explosions, with a successful terrorist attack shown via a giant red countdown and then left to the imagination.

Today is Tuesday, and it’s the day Red has already died.

Time then reverts back and he’s stood with five minutes on the clock before the city is again torn apart via a chain of planned attacks by the Black Fang cell. The central character Red will live these five minutes over and over until he stops them.

Areas of detonation are marked on a map showing the casualties that will soon result if the explosive devices aren’t uncovered. The puzzles aren’t of a mini-game nature and instead require observation of those around you. Investigating someone provides a short sentence of useful information. That security guard hates how the admin girl always uses personal information for her password, for example, thus leaving clues within the environment.

Opening scenes see the citizens frozen in time, whether working unaware of their impending fate or trying to escape a terrorist attack about to destroy the airport. Later, time applies the same for everyone and you must analyse and watch everyone’s routine, from lunch breaks to following them
home.

screenshot

Once the patterns become clear Red can choose to speed up time – though not himself – via the effect of fast-forwarding, delivered in a slick VHS-esque manner. As bombs are defused they remain so, meaning it’s not a straight run to deactivate them all in five minutes flat. Finally diffusing all the bombs rewards the audience with a surreal and charming conclusion.

Small parts of exposition would have helped in-between the main locations and restarts. A brief scene of Red waking up in the car or on the train later on would have acted as a smoooth and humanising transition from time running out to another second chance.

And it’s not until the final third that the world opens up and the ideas begin to make sense in a wider scope. However, it’s then soon over and some may find this lack of running time a short coming. If this was cinema it’d be a short arthouse film, providing a point of discussion but failing to engage those that wanted robots, explosions and MTV-style editing.

Cheaper than the marketplace avatar items you can buy in a failed attempt to compensate for how boring you look in real life, City Tuesday is a showcase of the unique ideas that can be nurtured via an indie environment.

The author of this fine article

is the Deputy Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in December 2010. Get in touch on Twitter @shaneryantb.

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