We're well into autumn now, folks. But while October is largely defined by ghosts and ghouls, it's also a time for a bit of nostalgic melancholy—and damn, if that's not hitting a whole lot harder this year. Released earlier this week, Love – A Puzzle Box Filled With Stories taps right into that nerve of thinking what could've been, by way of some fairly dodgy construction practices.
An experimental narrative puzzle-box from developer Rocketship Park, Love is a shifting architectural diorama about relationships, regret, time travel, and the fantasy of knowing your neighbours as more than just "the folks who get my misaddressed parcels".
Now I reckon it'd be somewhat nightmarish to live in a constantly-rotating block of flats, but Love's Rubix Cube of a tenement presents a wonderfully tactile diorama of stories. Each floor has its own set of residents, with every room presenting its own set problems and relationships to untangle.
Crucially, there's some kind of supernatural temporal barrier splitting the building between past and present. Spinning a tenant between the two will determine whether the scene they're playing out is happening now, or happened before—with knock-on effects on the rest of the building's residents.
While the trailers present the game with a real sappy, noughties romance flick vibe, it seems there's something of a mournful edge to Love's heart. In a press release earlier this year, co-founder Shane McCafferty explained that the game is less interested in romance, and rather "the warm corner of sadness that comes with it; the challenge of letting go of our past".
With this Autumn feeling more melancholy than most, that vibe sounds pretty spot-on. Love - A Puzzle Box Filled With Stories is out now on Steam for $17.99/€15.11/£13.94.