Imagine my amazement when I opened up Steam earlier to stumble upon a new video game named after my home state. Simply titled as “Sarawak”, the game is a text-based narrative mystery adventure and is developed by a husband and wife team known as Cowleyfornia Studios from Oxford, England.
The game’s description on its Steam page reads as follows: “A university professor is found dead on the steps outside your hotel. The police arrest someone very close to you for his murder. The dead professor has left behind him a web of secrets that you alone can unravel.
Sarawak is a narrative adventure game that takes you from the dreaming spires of Oxford to the jungles of Borneo as you make interactive choices and solve puzzles in a story that blurs the boundaries between narrative games and conventional literature.”
The game is played out ala classic mystery novels with a dash of Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) and puzzle elements. Specifically, the gameplay is split between interactive text choices and point-and-click puzzles, reminiscent of classic titles from LucasArts and modern ones such as 80 Days and A Case of Distrust. The developer noted that you can also expect the story to branch out differently, depending on the choices you make in dialogue or action throughout your playthrough.
The player will eventually find themselves in various locations within the state of Sarawak, particularly its capital city Kuching. As observed from the screenshot shown above, the game does feature familiar local landmarks such as the city’s State Legislative Assembly (DUN) building, which is seen across the river from the Kuching Waterfront. I’ve not played the title itself, so its hard to say how accurate is the developer’s depiction of the East Malaysian state in-game.
Sarawak (the game) is available now and is priced at RM21.15. Those interested can download a demo via its Steam page, which allows you to sample the game’s first two chapters for free. Cowleyfornia Studios noted that the game will also be ported over to other platforms including iOS, Android and Nintendo Switch later in 2021.