René Bühling’s A Room Beyond is currently in Early Access on Steam. It’s been in there since spring of 2016. Over the course of the summer the game received an update that added the second episode to the stash, allowing gamers to experience more of the story and the gameplay.
According to the developer, there are plans to release all five episodes for A Room Beyond, leading up to its full release on Steam. According to the Early Access page, the final release of the game doesn’t have an actual date rolled out, but it will be complete once all five episodes are finished.
The game is inspired by Bronnie Ware’s book The Top Five Regrets of Dying. The book came out back in 2011 and follows the final days of various individuals and their life’s tale. Ware was a caretaker for a good part of her life, and that makes up a large part of the book’s content. A Room Beyond takes those concepts and transforms them into an adventure about spirituality, the occult, and existentialism.
Based on the description it sounds more like it may venture into the Jean-Paul Sartre and Nietzsche territory given the surrounding story about dark literature and Victorian horror.
The game sees players attempting to help villagers solve a mystery surrounding a fog that has murderous intent. A Room Beyond is described as a interactive graphic novel with point-and-click gameplay elements.
You can see what the gameplay is like with the trailer of the second episode.
The gameplay reminds me a lot of Psygnosis’ Ecstatica fused with Minecraft. The main difference is that Ecstatic was based on 3D spheres for its characters, where-as A Room Beyond uses blocky voxel designs.
The 2.5D design perspective takes place in a 3D world, but uses fixed camera angles, similar to old games like Resident Evil and the original Alone in the Dark trilogy. According to the description on the Steam store page, the point-and-click design is simplified so just about anyone can pick up and play the game.
The retro-themed 3D pixel graphics and crime-horror story are designed to help give A Room Beyond it’s own visual identity. Coupled with a story about life, magic and the horrors from beyond, this is likely the sort of game that will itself endeared by an enthusiastic but niche audience.
There’s a demo available for the first episode of the game if you were interested in giving it a try. For more info feel free to visit the Steam store page.