Time-travelling monsters enjoy cruise, Titanic passengers not so lucky.
Being trapped aboard the RMS Titanic is one thing, but being jumped by a fanged hairbag while the ship’s going down is just funny. Eerie Canal’s indie game, Dreadline, is a cartoonish slice of gallows humour that has monsters savaging passengers aboard the most luxurious boat afloat, moments before the iceberg hits. What’s worse, the game seems to ask – the fact that the passengers are doomed anyway, or that a supernatural fiend ripped their heads off before they had a chance to drown?
“We’re all afraid of dying,” says Bryn Bennett, co-founder of Eerie Canal, and that’s part of the fun. In Dreadline, the players are Ghost, Mummy, Candice Lupus, and Cubrik – my fave – as they roam the disaster zone seeking prey. While a scraggly, flop-haired artist named Jack isn’t one of their victims, more’s the pity, they do rack up an impressive body count. Bennett likens the idea to Gorey’s Gashlycrumb Tinies, a series in which gruesomely humorous things happen to small children. The Tinies poked fun at parents fears for their children, spiking mundane dread with more outrageous disasters. Here, Bennett gets a chuckle out of tragedy, by adding crazy ghouls to an ice-filled evening.
“You’re controlling a group of monsters who are doing absolutely terrible things to people,” Bennett notes. “We have been very careful to make the monsters as ‘lovable’ as possible, and to keep the violence cartoony.” Cartoony like the Addams Family, by the look of things, but, loveable or not, there are, and will probably always be, people who won’t let Mummy give them a heartwarming hug.
There’s no firm release date yet, nor have the mechanics been explained. It would seem Ghost has a yen for hearts, but whether that fits in with the mechanics or is a personal quirk is anyone’s guess. Dreadline is tentatively scheduled for early next year, so with luck Cubrik will get to run riot in First Class before long.