The Act Hands-On Preview

Watch the trailer below, and it won’t come as any surprise that The Act is more of a cartoon than a game. While you do have control over what happens onscreen, your input is limited to left and right swiping gestures that urge your character to do whatever he wants to accomplish in each scene. It’s like the classic arcade game Dragon’s Lair, but it doesn’t rely on twitch reactions (and, one would hope, includes fewer deaths).

The Act’s story is a light, goofy romantic comedy. You play as a window-washer named Edgar, who’s desperately in love with a nurse at the hospital where he works. As you play through the game, you’ll try to win her over, while also keeping your lazy brother, who’s also your coworker, out of trouble. The story plays out in a series of comic set-pieces that you control by watching the characters’ reactions and urging Edgar toward whatever he needs to focus on.

For instance, the opening scene finds Edgar standing at a bar when he spies his crush at a nearby table. By swiping gently on the screen to make Edgar act, it quickly becomes apparent that wants to pique the nurse’s interest from afar. Swipe toward her, and he starts trying to make eye contact with her. Keep swiping, and he’ll start winking and smiling at her. The more you swipe, the more forward Edgar becomes. Soon he’ll lick his lips and start pumping his hips suggestively in her direction. Naturally, this is a bit much for the nurse, who becomes disgusted, grabs her purse, and storms out of the bar.

If that happens, you fail the scene and have to start over. This time, if you’re more gentle with your swipes, and you take the visual cues the nurse gives you, back-stepping if she becomes prickly, Edgar will be more smooth. He’ll flash a friendly smile and move his shoulders to the music, and she’ll reply in kind, sheepishly at first, but gradually being won over.

There’s no voice acting in The Act, so all meaning in the story comes from the wonderful animation, which seems fully up to the task. The characters emote beautifully, with exaggerated mannerisms and a classic cartoon feel.

The Act will be a universal app, with an hour or two of playtime, depending on how long you spend fiddling with the scenes. We’re looking forward to playing it all the way through to find out how Edgar fares with his goofy brother and beautiful lady friend. The game is on schedule to release in May.