PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox One
Since they usually only have a small budget to pay back, indie titles often dare to be more experimental than traditional video games. The result is games where you can see nothing, titles that blur the lines between genres and games that tackle difficult or niche topics. Celeste, Gris and A Night In the Woods, among others, stem from this and deal with mental illness in their own way. Also Frank & Drake, a Nintendo Switch title that I got to play with at gamescom.
Frank and Drake are our titular protagonists and roommates in a fictional American city. Frank is the supervisor of the apartment complex they reside in, which struggles with mental demons. He has to write down everything to keep a grip on reality and hears objects talking to him. The only time he has rest is at night.
Drake is in a way the opposite. He has a UV allergy and is therefore unable to walk down the street in broad daylight. He therefore works at night and never sees Frank in person. Instead, they communicate with sticky notes.
a different perspective
During my demo I was allowed to choose which character I would experience the world with, but a spokesperson who supervised the session already informed me that this would only be the case for this build. In the full game you play alternately with the lords and their actions influence each other. For example, Drake can ask Frank to do something and the story will take a different turn depending on whether you forgo it or not.
Due to the nature of the build, I couldn’t see that interaction in action, but I did get a taste of the style and gameplay. I can be brief about the first one: it’s fine. It’s not my thing, I’m just more into Asian drawing styles, but the art is sharp and conveys the message more than enough. I find the second more difficult to judge. The build is clearly situated at the beginning of the game and everything is still being set up. Puzzles are therefore still immensely simple. I hope that will become even more interesting, although I can also imagine that people deliberately do not do this so as not to hinder the story they want to tell.
The demo makes it more than clear which way the team behind Frank & Drake wants to go, but I can’t say yet whether it is the road to success. After all, I haven’t been able to taste the interaction between the two characters, which will be central to the game. But I do intend to keep an eye out for now.