If you're familiar with Dejobaan Games, then you're well aware that the studio's name is synonymous with raucous, balls-to-the-wall action games. Titles like the recently released Drunken Robot Pornography are all about high octane thrills and wacky chicanery across futuristic settings. Now, though, Dejobaan is slowing things down a bit with Elegy for a Dead World, a writing game, (or maybe it's a writing tool) that the team developed alongside Popcannibal Games. It's quite the unorthodox experience, and it's certainly a niche title, but it's bound to appeal to a certain specific crowd.
After spending some time with Elegy, I felt that it would be a disservice to the game to write a regular review, so I decided to let my creative juices flow instead and wrote a review in a more poetic format, because this game deserves that much.
A World That Breathes Art and Literature
Elegy for a Dead World is a land divided.
Divided between sorrow and inspiration,
Beauty and despair, death and creation.
It is a land where everything looks mesmerizing,
And you paint a picture of what once was.
The world of Elegy is a mysterious one.
You create the world, you paint the landscape.
You write the history, detail the lore.
You play the role of explorer,
An intergalactic paleontologist.
But you're not scavenging for bones, no.
You're visiting a world forgotten
And bringing its past to life.
You draw influence from the past,
And in a sense, you're not alone.
You take with you the ghosts of the gone.
You're joined by British romantics:
Shelley, Byron, Keats.
They lend a helping hand
And place the proverbial pen in your hand.
It is with this proverbial pen —
The keyboard of days present —
That you create the stories of the fallen.
Elegy allows you to breathe life into death.
In essence, it births your creativity.
It encourages you to create and build,
And it begs of you to look deep inside yourself —
Your head, your heart, your creative spirit —
So that you may indeed tell the tale of the Dead World.
The journey is much simpler than the destination.
You roam from left to right and right to left,
Scribbling the past onto crumbling walls.
You hardly walk as your jetpack makes exploration an aerial affair.
There are empty buildings with open doors.
What rests here? Stories of a long-dead civilization.
And only you can unearth those stories.
The land itself, though ravaged, is a gorgeous sight to witness.
Orange and red pervade the skies like flames.
Earthy dirt rests beneath your feet.
Wondrous gray and blue towers pierce the sky,
Once populated by a race of otherworldly people,
Now empty and dilapidated, awaiting your curious eye.
Elegy is not a place with sounds and songs.
There's no music, and no soundtrack for your life
Or the lives of any of the former inhabitants.
Instead, you hear the gusts of sandy wind in the air,
Like echoes of the whispers of those who died.
You'll also be greeted occasionally by blaring sounds,
None of which are pleasant,
Yet they still fill a role: to add an emptiness
To what was once full of life.
And though the three lands of the three poets are empty,
There is a population —
A population of writers and storytellers just like you.
Some may call it a society of living poets,
Elegy calls it the Steam Workshop —
A place where you can share your stories with the rest of the world,
Or at the very least, those who strive to create, just like you.
This environment is one where creative encouragement bleeds feverishly.
You'll find others who have created wonderful masterpieces,
Some who write for laughs,
And others who share their personal journeys.
You'll be inspired, but you can also inspire.
This element of sharing is not unlike telling campfire stories —
Everyone has something to say.
Not all of it will be to your liking,
But you're bound to discover tales that are as valuable as treasure.
Where some will find unadulterated inspiration,
Others will wonder why.
This is not an adventure to take lightly.
Likewise, it is not an adventure that all must embark upon.
Elegy is a quest for those who wish to paint a landscape with words.
For the rest — for the ones who seek thrills with action —
This is an interplanetary journey not worth taking.
Truly, however, if you wish to partake in a lovingly built world —
One that you get the opportunity to invent yourself —
Elegy is a trip to an unknown universe well worth making,
If only to understand just how distant your mind can see,
How far your words can travel,
And how much poetry and fiction you can unleash into our world.
Here are the criteria I consider most important for judging Elegy for a Dead World:
Not since the original Scribblenauts has it been this much fun to write in a video game. Though I use the word “game” loosely, there's no doubt that Elegy is a wonderful writing tool and something completely original. Dejobaan and Popcannibal did an excellent job creating a world based around the art of writing.
Some may wonder if there's any point to playing a game where all you do is write the history of mysterious worlds. As it turns out, it's pretty gratifying to be able to come up with fiction and poetry within the context of the once thriving worlds presented to you in Elegy.
Each of the game's three environments are a joy to explore. Though there's nothing in the way of secrets and collectibles or any of the other tropes you'll find in most other games, Elegy does a great job of throwing you into a universe that feels like it used to be filled with life, only to fall victim to death, disaster, and plague.
You can write to your heart's content and share your work with others via Steam Workshop. You can also read other players' work. Not everything is great, but you'll definitely encounter plenty of impressive works of fiction. Admittedly, I wish there were a few more worlds to check out, but the three on hand have multiple writing exercises in the form of prompts that are meant to give you a starting point. Of course, if you want to write something entirely from scratch, you totally can.
Overall Score: 8.3/10
I wouldn't recommend Elegy to anyone but folks who actually want to take the time to write. Though some creative types will question the need for writing prompts, the fact remains that sometimes all you need is a good starting point.
Elegy is unlike anything Dejobaan and Popcannibal have done before, but this collaboration could very well be one of the best things these two studios have ever done.
GameCrate reviews represent the opinions of the GameCrate writer who wrote them, and not necessarily those of Newegg. In most cases, GameCrate reviews are performed using products or samples provided by the manufacturer/producer of the product.