March 6, 2015 2:50 PM | Luca Colosso
Created for Jam for Leelah, and released about one week ago, SEAQUEST1992 doesn't simply try to raise awareness on trans youth issues in a hurried manner. It's a well thought out adventure game that in any case, results to be enjoyable whether you get the metaphorical references or not. Perhaps, that's why it stands out so much compared to the other 21 entries. On its side, though, it's good to note that there's also a very compelling visual style clearly inspired by N-64 games. Moreover, the original soundtrack that rewards the player with a new song whenever an area gets discovered, is so varied that will eventually satisfy every kind of musical tastes.
It doesn't share a lot of the common traits that are often associated with freewares. It's lengthy, and what matters the most, nothing feels rushed like in your average jam game. SEAQUEST1992 takes place in a fantasy underwater world. Where day by day (acts are conventionally labeled as days), you get to play as a humanoid entity who chose to give up on his humanity in order to turn into a creature of the ocean.
The transformation will happen gradually, and it's depicted by the exploration of narrow paths that brings the protagonist constantly farther away from home. Sharp corals are everywhere, some of them even move. So if you wish to retain the triangles you're supposed to gather along your way, avoiding any collision at all costs is going to be your primary concern.
Said triangles, at a glance, don't really have any usage once you catch them. However, the way they make the player realize of being on the right track, is interesting to say the least. Without them, getting lost would definitely be possible. The 2.5D sidescrolling view, in fact, isn't exactly what I would choose if I had to propose such a dispersive and disorienting world to explore. Sometimes, foreground occlusions can really appear to be walls. But if you don't want to be fooled, following your instincts (and the trail of golden tiny triangles) is the best decision you can make.
Towards the end, the skill of propelling in the air for a short amount of time will be granted by the fins that are slowly replacing your feet. And that, is also the ability that will most likely save you from an unexpectedly difficult final boss.
SEAQUEST1992 can be played for free directly in your browser. You can find it on itch.io.