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Milkmaid of The Milkyway Game Review: A Cow Space Adventure
I had the pleasure of playing this game on a quiet Saturday, being a fan of relaxing puzzle games, It has a certain charm to it.
Milkmaid is yet another game that pays homage to old adventure games with its pixel retro graphics and fairy-tale feel. It was created in 2017 by Mattis "machineboy" Folkestad exploring the adventures of a humble milkmaid that ends up in space
Besides being an homage to the old-school genre how does this fare on it's own?
You control Ruth, a milkmaid living on a fjord in 20s Norway. Being the only one of her family left to take care of the farm, she spends her day looking after her cows and making cheese and butter. The only person she even talks to is her friend who delivers her goods, who say things aren´t looking good for the butter business since people prefer margarine now, and he plans to move to the city in hopes for a better life.
One day when out on the fields, space shows up and abducts all her cows. She confronts the aliens, who tell her they need the cows to save their milkbeasts who are sacred to their culture and are on the verge of extinction . To make matters worse, the Queen has stolen her youth!
It´s up to her to rescue her beloved cows and improve life for the crew on the ship.
After the introductory farm puzzles and figure a way into the ship, you are free to explore the area. There aren´t a lot of places to worry about, making this ship very self-contained. This is good since it reduces the time I would have to backtrack.
That being said I liked the artstyle, the background was actually hand-painted with a pastel pixelated palette, from the beautiful starry sky to the fields, to ship exterior or the white and gold sci-fi setting. all created by the talent illustrator Natalie Foss.
The game has the same typical point and click inventory puzzles as with other games. But what I liked about it is the lack of illogical moon puzzles, the puzzles rely you to use common sense and aren´t that hard to figure it out. The only exceptions are the frog puzzle, as well as the water one.
And yes, at one point I had to put a substance in water, but despite you can find it on different sources like the pond, I could take water from one place which kinda ruined the immersion a little bit. Another interesting thing is that the de-aging process that was introduced early on the game can be used as a game mechanic. This will be important, not only to get your youth back, but it can be used in certain inanimate objects as well.
A lot of your time will be spent helping folks on the ship, and they should give the necessary clues. Speaking of the characters, I had fun interacting with them, there were a lot of emotional moments like that kid who gave up his literal childhood to help our protagonist save his mother or the sadness and nostalgia of a group who struggle to keep their civilization alive whip still under the heel of a tyrant.
I think my favorites were the two old ladies who mischievously talk about their past lover. I don´t know why, but somehow I can picture in my head what they sound like. This how alive the cast feel to me.
As you progress in the story you will find out that it deals with themes of loss, living in the past, and struggle to adapt to a changing world that is moving without you. There is actually some parallel character arc between our Ruth and the alines she is helping. Ruth like them had to deal with the loss of the things she loved the most and doing everything she to keep those memories alive, while the aliens had to deal with a terrible cataclysm that destroyed their planet. However, there is still hope, sometimes the best you can do is move on and perhaps start a new life in order to figure out your own place in the universe.
Another fun aspect of the game is that while there´s no dialogue everyone speaks in rhyme, as in pun-tastic rhymes. I was wondering is that actually a fairy-tale with a sci-fi twist. In fact, everything here is giving that vibe. Just substitute ship with the castle, an evil youth stealing sorcerers instead of an alien, have a spunky heroine, and you might as well be playing a King´s Quest game, with a little pinch of Howl´s Moving Castle, and with the jokes of a Douglas Adams story.
A lot of aspects in this game were influenced by the culture background of the developers of this game and it shows. Mattis Folkestad is himself from Oslo, Norway. It´s not every day that a game has a 20s Norwegian in its setting.
There is some Indian influence as well when comes ot the aliens, a cow-like-alien species being sacred? Blue aliens with a small dot on their forehead, and their clothes? Then there as the names, like the Ship is called the Veda? That credit probably goes to Rashid Akrim one of the beta-testers. What you got on your hands is an interesting multicultural game with a unique story.
Despite this being, fun to play it is very short, with only two hours of completion. But it has done a good job in telling a good story in such a short time. What it doesn´t have in-game length, it has least has in terms of aesthetics, characters, and music ( you can actually buy the soundtrack on Steam).
I could relate to the main character struggling between keeping a legacy while trying to find her own place in the world. And all of this was done with a small team which is not an easy thing.
If you like simple and atmospheric puzzle games or just like retro games in general give this one a try. This game is available on several platforms including mobile.