The Shadows That Run Alongside Our Car (2016)

The Shadows That Run Alongside Our Car is a short but powerful little visual novel about two strangers running from the the zombie apocalypse. Created over the course of four days by indie trio Lox Rain, the game never leaves the confines of the used car speeding down the highway but manages to cleverly weave around the characters’ stories as they talk about where they’ve come from and where they’re going.

The game can be played from the point of view of either protagonist and has multiple endings, and is short enough for quick run throughs without getting old. A nice touch is the ability to name the characters and there are some interesting branching options in the dialogue.

The scenes, such as they are, are few but beautifully drawn and the characters expressions change throughout. The passage of time is represented by the changing light hues which works very well.

TSTRAOC DarknessTSTRAOC Mariachi

The game touches on dark themes but isn’t heavy handed or strongly opinionated. A lot goes unsaid between the characters but this is all the more effective for what limited dialogue options are available. It’s interesting to see how both characters respond to their situation and I particularly liked the way their dialogue and inner monologue are represented as this builds up a bigger picture on subsequent playthroughs.

TSTRAOC DisatissfiedTSTRAOC Radio

The Shadows That Run Alongside Our Car is free to download on Itch.io (donations welcome) for Windows, Mac and Linux, and i’d highly recommend it. It’s short, simple, but cleverly packaged and an interesting format for a dialogue-driven game.

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