You may not think that a series of commas, lines and period could cast fear into your heart, strengthen your resolve, or make you believe in magic, but Stone Story aims to challenge that assumption. Animated in a striking ASCII form, Stone Story isn’t just all style, and presents some incredibly innovative twists of the standard RPG formula.
Stone Story is an RPG set in a dark and vile world. The game’s fluid ASCII art is painstakingly animated in plain text by a single insane game developer. The game features 8 locations to explore, each with an epic boss fight, mind-blowing ASCII cutscenes and plenty of loot to discover. Much more content is planned once the project reaches beta.
Stone Story immediately stands out due to it’s aesthetics and animation. Stone Story uses an ASCII style where the characters, environments and effects are constructed entirely of keyboard symbols and, quite frankly, it’s astounding what emotion, movement and depth are conveyed with periods, commas, and lines.
The fact that this is the work of one developer makes it all the more impressive. Animations don’t feel clunky either: they have a definite style to them, but it never feels obtuse or slow
Another element of Stone Story that stands out is the fact that you don’t control the main character directly. You have no control over how he conducts his adventure, only what items he wields, and which locations he visits in the world.
After that, the game AI takes over, fighting all combats and looting all objects. You have an active role in switching out the hero’s weapons at key moments, and telling him when to use potions or special abilities.
Add to this the ability, and necessity of crafting items from the various materials you’ll collect, and you have a deep RPG with numerous options to explore, even if you aren’t directly controlling the main character.
All in all, Stone Story is an intriguing twist on both the mechanics and aesthetics of RPG games, appealing to both the nostalgia of the ASCII era, while presenting something that feels fresh and new in terms of gameplay. It’s interesting and innovative, and I’m eager to see more.
Stone Story is still in development, with no announced release date. It will be available on PC, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android, at some point in the future, and if you’d like learn more, check out the game’s website.
Want to learn more about the games we saw at PAX East 2017? Check out this page, which lists all the game’s we saw, and we will be updating with links to our coverage as we complete it