A Postcard from Afthonia
[Note: A Postcard of Afthonia is free to download, but please consider picking up the Special Edition with commentary and additional content to support the creator!]
There's a war going on in Verena and Jonas Kyratzes' beloved Lands of Dream, and in this short indie point-and-click adventure, you've been summoned through a very small magical portal to help two people in need. A Postcard from Afthonia has you helping Kyon and Katerina, who have put aside the differences cats and dogs typically have as they've fallen in love, and are even expecting a child. They're a little nervous about the future, with the war going on and interbreeding not always looked upon favorably by certain people, so they want you to visit the Oracle on their behalf. To play, just click to interact in the large in-game window on the left side of the screen whenever the cursor changes. When talking to people, just click the different dialogue topics to change the discussion. On the right side of the screen, the top-most window will give you directional arrows to let you move around. Below that is Mrs Papyrus, who will keep track of your tasks, and below that is your map, which lets you travel to different locations. The last window at the bottom holds your inventory, but don't focus solely on grabbing everything you can and barreling through your objectives, because A Postcard from Afthonia is all about the journey and the people in it.
It's hard to think of a point-and-click adventure world that really begs lazy, indulgent exploration and contemplation more than the Lands of Dream, and A Postcard from Afthonia is no different. It's the sort of game where you usually always know where to go and what to do, but you'll want to take your time getting there because there's so much to see. Virtually everything can be clicked on and offers a unique description, some funny and silly, others subtly poignant and thoughtful. Despite its colourful, whimsical design, A Postcard from Afthonia deals with some serious issues, and Jonas Kyratzes has always excelled at weaving in commentary through descriptive observation and situations that parallel our own world in a way that makes you think on your own rather than having it spoonfed to you one click at a time. Most of the gameplay is fairly straightforward, mostly centering around figuring out who to speak to next, and what about, so if you don't know what to do, you may need to go back and see if anyone you've already spoken to has any new dialogue options based on things you've learned. While it won't take you long, however, A Postcard from Afthonia is the sort of game that lingers with you, a reminder of what's important in life, and what you need to do with it when you have it.
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