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The Kite

The Kite free indie PC adventure gameAre you sick and tired of cheerful adventure games, with colorful characters and happy endings? Then you’re in luck! The Kite is as depressing and realistic as it gets and is not for the faint of heart or easily impressionable.

The Kite was created by the Ukrainian indie team Anate Studio using the Wintermute Engine, the same engine that powered the excellent freeware adventure Dirty Split. But unlike the colorful graphics of the aforementioned game, The Kite is bleak, gloomy and, sadly, a reality to millions of people all over the world.

The story follows Masha, a loving mother and caring wife to a husband who goes down the self-destructive path. Now an alcoholic who can’t maintain a job, he resorts to domestic violence, even with their small child around, a child that Masha barely can feed. Masha tolerates the violence of her husband Oleh for long, but when the life of her son Andrew is at stake, she takes extreme measures to save him. Sadly, The Kite is a game with no right choices, no happy endings and no moral lessons, but that’s the best way to alert for this terrifying problem that invades more and more households nowadays, even more at a time when the financial crisis is taking its toll on so many families.

The amazing graphic style is the first thing that catches the eye, with realistic sketches filled with great detail and somber colors and lighting. Masha’s home is a modest one, mostly decayed and the hallway is even worse, with shady looking habitants spending time in the stairs and ignoring Masha’s pleas. Graffiti and swear words paint the halls; it’s a scary environment for a woman to walk by, let alone to live in. The animation may not be perfectly suited to the perspective at all times, but Masha has a fluid walk and the other characters are conveniently animated and fit flawlessly in the background.

Controls are standard point and click but some actions require pixel perfect movement, so be sure to inspect the detailed artwork to search for items. Most of the puzzles are logical, but there’s a couple that aren’t completely commonsense and take some guesswork. There’s also a puzzle where the player has to pass a math-based test not unlike Sudoku to help our beloved (not really…) husband. The authors choose some Beethoven pieces for the soundtrack and the haunting tunes fit faultlessly in the domestic abuse and desperation themes, right down to the end of the game.

The Kite is depressing and a sad but helpful reminder that domestic abuse and degrading human conditions are very real and most likely someone you know may be going through something like this. There’s no happy ending, but hopefully this game will play a part in diminishing the atrocities of domestic violence. It’s a game of immense quality and should be played by anyone who is concerned about serious themes.

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