Stones of Solace is the latest title from exciting experimental publisher
Games that are art, art as a game.
While some publishers have rather eclectic back catalogue, others have got their personal brand nailed. Ice Water Games is absolutely the later, consistently publishing games that are experimental and art-driven, this label has built a name for itself as the place to go to for something a little bit different.
Everything about this publisher’s ethos puts art above all else, even down to the developers themselves being referred to as ‘artists’ on their site. Their recently announced title Stones of Solace is just as art-driven as the rest, putting players in a meditative and calming environment.
In this free-to-play or pay-what-you-want PC game, players are assigned an idol. Each day the idol’s shrine changes to a new environment, encouraging players to check back on their idol for some quiet time daily. While visiting your idols shrine, you can also craft them a gift. As the shrines change daily, so too do the items available for crafting your gift. The aim is to provide players with a place to re-centre and relax.
Ice Water Games have had success with similar titles in the past, in which the player has to visit their game daily to see progression. Ritual of the Moon, which released earlier this year, employs this concept also. This sad tale is narrative led, focusing the story of the witch. The witch has been exiled to the moon to live out her life staring down at the Earth. Over the course of 28 days, we see her experience of loneliness, of power and of healing.
These smaller art games achieve so much in such small packages and the incentive to visit daily through rewarding narrative or new environments is a welcome change from AAA loot-box equivalent. On their page Ice Water Game’s refers to themselves as an “officially a democratically run games label” a “community of artists sharing resources and an audience within an institution controlled collectively by the membership.” It is perhaps this way of working that enables such creative and experimental gems to be produced.
They state: “More importantly, we intend to grow our label by signing the beautiful and strange work that we think our audience wants.” And want it we do!
Stones of Solace will be released sometime this summer, to find out more about the title, click here.