Check out this gorgeous, sepia-toned apocalyptic adventure set in northern Finland

The humble point-and-click adventure game has gone through many iterations, with ups and downs year to year, but the genre has given up its relevance entirely. I know this because at least once a year I see one that's just drop-dead interesting for some reason or other. Rauniot, out now from Finnish indie developer Act Normal Games, is drop-dead interesting because it's drop-dead gorgeous. 

With a world of rich, sepia-toned pre-rendered backgrounds, Rauniot promises point and click adventure puzzling in a pretty unexplored videogame setting: Northern Finland. With people unable to trust each other, small bands now scrabble for survival—that's where protagonist Aino comes in, working to establish a group of survivors supporting each other. Interestingly, while the setting is bleak, not everything in the game has to be: achievement descriptions hint that there's a way to survive without firing any bullets.

Despite being set in the post-apocalypse, Rauniot's world is one that diverges from our own world in 1974 when "a massive natural disaster pushed the civilization over the edge." The world that results is a retrofuture of a kind, where the computers are all CRT monitors and floppy disks while the cars are deliciously blocky, and some puzzles appear to involve tuning radio channels.

Developer Act Normal points at a variety of puzzles in Rauniot that don't have to be tackled in a linear order or with a single solution, which should give variety to each person's experience. A looping gif on the Steam store page shows the main character adroitly unlocking a padlock in one frame, then shooting it off with a pistol in an alternate one.

There's something to be said here about the beauty of pre-rendered graphics. The technique is decades old and the results are proven and hard to argue with: Whether we're talking about the backgrounds of the old Infinity Engine in Baldur's Gate 1 & 2 or the charming streets of Ravachol in Disco Elysium.

Early user reviews of Rauniot are overall quite positive, with a majority saying that the Finnish voice acting adds to the atmosphere and the puzzles are engagingly difficult in a game that doesn't hold your hand, but does have a nice fast travel to make adventure game fiddling more bearable. Negative reviews seem to dock the story as having a bit of a vague ending.

You can find Rauniot on GOG, Green Man Gaming, and Steam for $18.

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.