At long last, our next text adventure game, Into the Haze is here!
Can you survive the poisonous haze and rescue your brother?
Into the Haze is an interactive graded reader that takes place in some post-apocalyptic Chinese city. Your brother has gone missing, and you need to make your way into the city, survive the poisonous haze, and rescue your brother.
Try it out!
(You'll need to be signed up, which is free.)
How do I play?
Our text adventure games are interactive stories. You're presented with a sentence or two about where you are and you advance through the game by making choices, so read carefully and choose wisely!
The main narrative of the game is presented in the style of a conversation (think a messaging app) with the most recent message at the bottom. Below the conversation box, you will see a question and one or more choices. To move forward in the game you select one of these choices by tapping on the numbered button. If a scene or action results in more than one message, you won't initially see the next choice. Instead the messages will be displayed one at a time so you have time to notice and read each one. You can press the down arrow icon to show each subsequent message, until the choices display below.
Here's what the game interface looks like:
What's new in Into the Haze?
In addition to an entirely new setting, story, and characters, Into the Haze also introduces some new game mechanics, as compared to our first text adventure game, Escape. We think these new game mechanics make this game more fun to play, and more fun to keep replaying.
Also, Into the Haze is about twice as long as Escape. And although we tried hard to keep it at the same difficulty level, with the longer length comes some additional characters (649 instead of 422). But don't let this worry you! Even if many of these Chinese characters are new to you, they will be second nature by the time you manage to fully explore the world of Into the Haze.
Into the Haze features some resources that you accumulate and use throughout the game. The most important resource is Air (空气). The city you must explore is covered in a poisonous haze, and you must wear a gas mask and breath only the air you bring with you. As you move around the city, you consume air and so you must find an efficient route so you can complete your mission without running out of air. You will also find opportunities to gain air throughout the game.
Other resources include your health, health kits, and various other items, such as a guns and gas masks.
There are two sources of randomness that make playing Into the Haze less predictable:
Random outcomes. Sometimes the outcome of an action you take will depend on the roll of a die. This introduces a bit of luck into the game. And although you can often avoid such random outcomes, to do particularly well in the game, you'll need to take risks and test your luck.
Random encounters. Some scenes of the game occur at random times. These scenes will test how well you can deal with unexpected situations as you carry out your mission.
Strategies and replay
The world of Into the Haze is rather large and you have a fair amount of free reign to move around in it. We purposely don't provide a map so that you need to read carefully and explore until you discover how the places connect together. That said, it is probably very helpful to try and draw your own map. We've given each place a short name that you will find next to the map icon () in the game state area. Keep in mind that the random encounters happen in different places each time.
At the beginning of the game, you're asked a question about how you have survived. Both answers are good answers, but how you answer will affect various aspects of the rest of the game. Can you beat the game using both strategies?
Keep in mind that there's nothing wrong with failing. You can always play again. And by exploring different paths through the game you will develop a better understanding of the world, and get additional practice with your Chinese. You can always restart from a checkpoint if you lose. There are many good ways through the game, so don't stick too much to one path you happened to find that works okay.
After you have explored the game, you can challenge yourself to try and see how many points you can earn and how much text you can read by the end. And the more you play the more Chinese you'll learn.
And don't forget to try the game in audio-only mode to improve your listening comprehension ability.
Playing the full game
Into the Haze is free to demo (you can make up to 10 choices), but in order to play the full game, and have the benefit of saving your game at checkpoints along the way, you'll need to subscribe as WordSwing backer.
Currently there is a discount (62% off) until we ramp up the pace of creating text games, meaning a subscription is only $3/month.
WordSwing is entirely student-supported, and we hope you'll consider becoming a backer to help us keep WordSwing alive and flourishing.
We are no longer charging separately for audio. Both demo mode and the full game feature audio for the game content.
Now that we've finished up Into the Haze, our plan is to develop some games aimed at less advanced students. We also hope to pick up the pace of releasing games, eventually aiming to release a new game every ~6 weeks. We also have lots more free stuff planned for WordSwing and many other improvements.
We hope you enjoy Into the Haze, and don't forget to let us know what you think.
Kevin & Olle