Upheaval (2022) is a narrative game where you have 30 days in a village before a wizard arrives. In those days, you can stir up chaos, lay low, go adventuring or do countless other activities. With over 5000 possible endings, it stands out for the sheer freedom you have to craft your own fantasy adventure.
At the start of the game, you arrive at a small town in the middle of the wilderness. In 30 days, a bandit-hating wizard will arrive in town. What happens when they get there depends on what you've done with those 30 days. It's entirely up to you; you can set out into the countryside and encounter mysterious wraiths and curses, stay in the village and stir up discontent between rival factions, or go treasure hunting for valuable artefacts. Your actions have intended and unintended consequences both before and during the wizard's visit.
You play by selecting from different textual options. Decisions to perform activities use up a related amount of your (or other character's) time. These consequences and outcomes are depicted with visuals supported by full-text descriptions. This not only makes it approachable for new gamers, but the PC terminal version of the game supports screen readers lets blind and low-vision players play.
The result is a game that invites experimentation with decisions and consequences. But more than this it offers a novel way for players to craft fantasy stories over and over again. Each run is a chance to experiment with different choices and see where you end up. Discovering new plot twists and developments as you play makes for an engaging personalised tale.
Our examiner, Ben Kendall
, first checked Upheaval 5 months ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson
and updated 5 months ago.