I can say so many things about this heart-wrenching, mournful title. It is a truly touching narrative of nostalgia and the way in which interpersonal resolution is put off until it’s too late.
The first thing to catch the eye is the outstanding visuals and the immense level of overproduction at play. YangBieng’s (@YangBieng) Nimaruroku (English title: “206”) is exceptionally well made, doubly so for being a simple but compelling bottle game.
The protagonist is established on the familiar foundation of a student living on her own and struggling with a relationship on the rocks. As you progress throughout her preparations for the school day, you get to take a moment to reflect on how every detail of her morning routine is a standing reminder of unfinished business.
(Mild spoilers past the next image.)
The struggle between the protagonist and her estranged friend is heavily implied to have romantic overtones and themes of unrequited love. The game is extremely adamant about you finding a solution in the midst of the gameplay’s looping narrative, and encourages you to make things right without making it easy or obvious how to go about it. To save the protagonist and put her on the right track of fate, you must read her diary and rely on your wits to figure out what is missing in her routine in order to set her at ease.
There are a shocking amount of endings to this game, most of them under a collective, brief retrospective that takes place towards the end-point of the title. For a game available for free, it’s astounding how much content the author has managed to put into the piece.
It is truly a work of dedication and love, both for the artist’s medium and for the craft of game design itself. Nimaruroku reminds me that there are so many wonderful freely available games in the Japanese market that have never made it to an English speaking audience.
The translation here feels faithful and heartfelt, and the meaning comes across cleanly with a consistent tone, nothing feels lost. YangBieng has really outdone themselves and we at Rebind.io look forward to their future work, as well as any of the exciting micro-indie titles coming out of Japan in the future.
Emily Rose is an indie developer who writes for rebind.io and resides in the pacific northwest. She’s often seen in the local VR arcade and developer community participating in pushing the medium’s horizons. You can find her on twitter @caravanmalice