I stole from the Russian mob and met Baba Yaga on this French road trip

game news I stole from the Russian mob and met Baba Yaga on this French road trip

Today I decided to hit the road to Russia with Firebird, a narrative road trip written by FibreTigre, a French specialist in interactive fiction.

It is difficult to know if the long periods of confinement that began in 2020 have something to do with it, but for some time now I have noticed a flourishing of “road trip” games, those that take you on an adventure along paths that are often unknown. . . Surely to invite us to easy epics outside our four walls. I think of highway 96 of the French of DixArt that put us in the skin of a fugitive, where the water tastes like wine, more atypical with its urban legends; then there will be a very sweet family road trip open roadsthe post-apocalyptic Dustborn, much more brutal, and finally fire bird, which invites us to discover Russian folklore. The same theme can make us go around in very different universes and that always seems quite fantastic to me. And then long road trips often create a somewhat magical timeless atmosphere. So when the Firebird demo became available on the Steam platform, I was quick to release it.

This is a new standalone column in JV:

A few weeks ago, we launched Wanted, your new column on quirky and fun indie games. In another record, this one is dedicated to the narrative games that we want to make you discover, in a slightly more personal record, as a ticket and with some video extracts.


Mariska and the mob

At first glance, Firebird looks like an unassuming narrative game. It is developed in the Ludogramme general public text editor. Delicate hand-drawn illustrations that scroll soberly and quickly remind me of the comic strips of my childhood. There is no dubbing in the show. The music is discreet, but it lets out nice sounds of string instruments, a bit mystical. I read that the road trip would last one night; Short narrative experiences always seem very beautiful to me when they know how to get rid of unnecessary length. I meet Mariska, a young truck driver who seems quite nice to me, but who seems to be involved in not very good deals with the Russian mafia.. The narration is promising, the game speaks to you like a book in which you are the hero. Surely the author is going for something, it is FibreTigre, confirmed creator of role-playing games. So naturally I look forward to writing. This is how I embody this Mariska, to whom her former colleague Iván hands over an unknown, almost mute girl that he found by the side of the road.

The unidentified girl doesn’t have a penny in her pocket, but says she wants to bring some food back to her small village in the far north of Russia. If Mariska brings him there, she could walk away with bear and white tiger skins. A completely illegal trade, but one that could serve to settle a large debt with Tourguine, the great local mobster who distributes contracts on the fly. So there are a number of questions raised early on and I can’t wait to see how they play out in just over an hour. If the texts scroll first in the manner of a visual novel, we are presented with a potentially fateful first option for players. And this is where it really piques my interest: Turguin instructs Mariska to entrust his henchman Dimitri with a sealed envelope that he is forbidden to open. In exchange for this service, he will tell you the location of the truck driven by his colleague Ivan, full of piles of food that he must take to the army.. And this food, maybe we can take it to the girls’ town. But Ivan is still a good friend. And I also want to know what’s in the envelope. Do you see the dilemma?


A journey down many paths

Curiosity prevails: I invite Mariska to discreetly open the envelope out of sight. As expected, it is full of tickets. Out of fear, I told him to leave the bundle warm for fear of reprisals and to entrust everything to Dimitri. She obviously realizes that the package is no longer sealed. The hit was still completely stupid. Neither one nor two, Tourguine is warned and confiscates Mariska’s truck since everything is allowed. Here she is without resources and in a big mess. And then the demo stops. I only played fifteen minutes, so inevitably, having achieved nothing, I am left a bit unsatisfied. But I decide to start a new game; this time, Mariska opens the envelope and pockets the tickets to buy mountains of food. And that’s where the crazy adventure begins.

Mariska drives like a whirlwind with a gold mine hidden in the trunk. This is even more promising for achieving our goals. She arrives at customs. She could also play the role of the fugitive who has something to be ashamed of, she rushes in, breaks the barrier and continues on her way to better get ahead of the mob that is probably already hot on her heels. Then I notice that the truck loses a bit of its solidity. In addition to the gasoline and the money that Mariska saves, there are three parameters that I must manage through elections. This is what complicates the interactions a bit. Two destinations are offered: a bridge or a log cabin. The second seems to me the most interesting, if not the safest. I click and there, Baba Yaga appears on the screen. Yes, Baba Yaga, the old hag, a recurring character in Slavic legends, is waiting for me stirring her cauldron. I have no idea what she’s doing around here, but the story takes an explosive turn. At the moment, obviously she wouldn’t know any more, the display ended on her battered face. But I hope to make other decisions that lead to equally unexpected paths. So far, Firebird looks pretty promising to me.

Lovers of short narrative experiences, hand-drawn illustrations, and Russian folklore, you’ll probably like Firebird. This 100% French game will be available in 2022 on the Steam platform.

  • Download Firebird Demo

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