Vokabulantis is a beautiful, hand-crafted platformer
Vokabulantis reminds me a bit of the puzzle platformer, Unravel, with its fixation on love. In fact, it calls itself a “love-driven co-op platformer adventure”, and has even cited the former as one of the chief inspirations. And like Unravel, what makes this Vokabulantis so immediately arresting is the look of its protagonists: two handcrafted puppets that are painstakingly crafted and then animated through stop motion, their every pose manually adjusted and shot frame by frame.
As if that’s not enough, the backdrop and pretty much everything else you see on screen will also be crafted by hand–from the dilapidated vehicles and trollies that litter most scenes, to the platforms the duo will be traversing on. It is, as the developer suggested, truly a labour of love.
More than that, however, is how the theme of love–and all the related emotions of joy, relief and heartache–are central to this game. According to its Kickstarter page, you will play as the lovestruck couple, Kurt and Karla, who were on the verge of confessing their feelings to one another, right before calamity struck: they were magically transported into the battered world of Vokabulantis and have, apparently, lost their mouths. Sounds a little like I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream, but they aren’t gelatinous blobs, and the game is instead slathered with the warm, fuzzy aesthetics of childhood nostalgia, rather than the abject horror of nihilism
I’m mostly kidding, since I doubt there’s an element of horror in Vokabulantis, but the trailer is, for the lack of better words, pretty darn beautiful and impressive, really. Vokabulantis will also feature rhythm-based mechanics that are “used to reflect irresistible joy in the protagonists”. And like most teenagers in love, the couple will experience the palpitations of anxiety if they are separated by great distances, which will shape the level in some ways.
If it all sounds splendid to you, you can check out their Kickstarter page here.