Editor’s Choice: Somerville

Carlos Moscoso1 minute read

Our fourth editor’s choice leading up to GAAD and the Diamond Award is Somerville, chosen by Carlos.

The indie scene has received considerable attention over the last few years for its noticeable growth in both ambition and quality, and to my mind, there is no better recent example of that then Somerville, the debut title from Jumpship whose co-founder Dino Patti, is known for his work on Playdead Studios’ Limbo and Inside. 

Somervile has a minimalistic design which begins with the color-palette, and feeds into every other aspect of gameplay, including story, inputs, and puzzles. Much of the game is saturated in tones of grey or black and white, so color-blindness wouldn’t present barriers of any kind. 

Traversal of the world only requires three buttons, and puzzles never necessitate the same level of twitch reflexes as the titles that inspired it. The similarities between Somerville and its influences are definitely overt, but this title sets itself apart by using an interesting light and energy transference mechanic as opposed to physics based puzzles. 

All of this is bolstered by the strongest example of environmental storytelling I’ve ever seen. There is absolutely no dialogue to be heard, but Somerville tells a peculiar and powerful tale about how far one is willing to go, and what they’ll endure for family, but it also has themes that explore the nature and perception of reality. 

Its minimalist approach is a tasteful and unexpected way in which it lends itself to accessibility, making Somerville my Editor’s Choice for 2022.

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