In Lonesome Village community is key. This particular one, the Ubhora village was once thriving and happy, but is now empty, victim of a cult devoted to an ancient god who kidnaps and locks up every villager in the ancient Ubhoran tower in the center of town. A coyote named Wes is the only thing left to investigate who is working in this vengeful god’s name, and attempt to save the village from its fate.
You’ll do all of this non-violently, instead navigating the gloomy tower, solving puzzles to save the townsfolk, and reforging lost bonds to rebuild the shattered community. A handy magical magnifying glass grants you the ability to see the tower’s secrets, whether it be using it to see a hidden path laid out in front of you in a dark room or using it to see a pattern that needs to be copied in a tablet. For example, one of the early puzzles you come across is a dark room which requires you to use the magnifying glass to find the paths to walk around on as you switch over three levers to finish the puzzle.
Developer Ogre Pixel’s focus on puzzles instead of concept pleased the pacifist in me, and helped keep the focus on Lonesome Village’s greatest strength: the collective personality of the villagers. Upon freeing them, you can do further mini-quests for them to get hearts. . These are mostly gathering chores, be it getting yarn to someone who wants to make a sweater for their sister or the local merchant wanting you to collect some sticks for his kids to play with. These little quests are fulfilling as you get to experience the subtleties of the village and its inhabitants, as their dialogue is endearing and lets you know about their lives and how things used to be before they were suddenly taken away. I often found putting the main story of investigating the mysterious cult behind the mad god on the back burner to focus on these little side stories, as I was so immersed with helping these villages get back to their normal day to day lives. Being so involved in this process was a lot of fun, and as someone who finds a lot of joy in existing in a very tight-knit community, Lonesome Village spoke to me.
Since I graduated from college this year, I got back into working with beer, and have been blessed to work in the area where I live. My work has helped me connect with and feel welcomed by the people and places of Santa Ana, an energy I see paralleled in Lonesome Village. Much like how Animal Crossing New Horizons rekindled my love of community through garden labour, Lonesome Village is scratching that same itch of community which I love. Lonesome Village is allowing me to help others in other ways outside of simple labour, it’s through talking to people and inspiring them to be good at what they do.
Lonesome Village is a game about bringing back people together through peace, love and the sheer admiration of community. Every time I help someone in the game with their quest, it reminds me of how my friends in the bar community of Santa Ana ring me up to help them troubleshoot beer set-ups or call me about a cocktail recipe. Community is something which means the world to me and I am grateful how Lonesome Village captures that same energy and brings a communal focus front and center.
This game was played on a Xbox Series S system with a code provided by PR