Inkle, the studio behind the acclaimed likes of Heaven’s Vault and last year’s A Highland Song, has just surprise-released The Forever Labyrinth, a free browser-based narrative adventure spanning the entire history of art from across the world.
The Forever Labyrinth, which has been made in partnership with the Google Arts & Culture initiative, transports players to an ever-shifting maze of rooms – resembling everything from serene gardens to clifftops, forests, and cellars – as they search for their friend Professor Sheldrake, who’s lost amid its mysterious interlinking passageways.
These passageways take the form of paintings and art – “drawn from the collections of great museums who are keen to share their treasures in new and exciting ways online”, as the press release puts it – scattered around each room. By collecting clues and identifying elements present within the artwork, players can learn to navigate the labyrinth and hopefully find their friend – if the monster ceaselessly devouring the world doesn’t get them first.
Inkle is calling The Forever Labyrinth a “replayable rogue-like adventure”, and says a single play-through will ordinarily take around 20 minutes. However, those wanting to discover all the labyrinth’s secrets will need to play through multiple times, according to the developer – and there’s a save system in place to record your progress.
The Forever Labyrinth looks to be a pleasingly intriguing thing with plenty of Inkle’s usual charm based on my relatively brisk playtime (you can have a go yourself here), and it’s a neat way to get some art in your eyes that you mightn’t ordinarily see. It’s also lovely to have more Inkle so soon after last year’s A Highland Song – which Eurogamer’s Chris Tapsell called a “a magical sonnet hidden beneath a game” in his four out of five review.