Rivals (2020) is a puzzle game where you piece together the story of Josh and Luke and the breakup of their band. Playing detective, similar to Return of the Obra Dinn, but rather than murder it's musical betrayal you are sleuthing here. You inspect sources, documents, audio logs and records to solve puzzles and get to the bottom of why things went badly for the group.
The story plays out on your desk, where you can arrange and interrogate all the resources. You piece things together chapter by chapter, receiving validation every 5th
correct chapter. It's well-written and subtle and backed by some great indie music (think Wilco meets Teenage Fanclub), which makes for an engaging story for a few hours.
Each fresh set of clues is an opportunity to delve deeper. Some mention a date, making your job easy, some require legwork to investigate -- even needing you to Google real-world events mentioned -- to establish the order of events.
It gets players thinking in different ways about relationships, world events and the decisions we all make that affect those around them.
Our examiner, Andy Robertson
, first checked Rivals 3 years ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson
and updated 3 months ago.