Part audiobook, part co-op game, but certainly unique.
I’m a sucker for games that look at the world a little differently, and so I was pleased to discover A Moment Between Us in the app store. This game is like the ultimate couch co-op, asking two individuals to use their phones and listen to the same story simultaneously, taking on the role of the characters.
Players are asked to act out the stories in their own space and walk (sometimes literally) in the shoes of the characters, encouraging intimacy between the players while also fostering empathy for the characters whose roles they are taking. A Moment Between Us is like a mix between audiobooks and theatre, and is wonderfully innovative.
When you first open the app, you are introduced to the concept. You are told that you must play with another person, preferably within the same space (although ‘Through a Glass Screen’ can comfortably be played long distance via video chat). The tutorial teaches you the different tones and colours that you will need to pay attention to during the game, and guides you to high five your partner.
Once you begin a story - and there are currently two you can choose from, ‘Through a Glass Screen’ and ‘Sisters’ - you are asked to confer with your partner and select a character. Each of you embodies your selected role, and is directed to interact with the other person in specific ways. Although both of these stories are about relationships, they don’t focus on the interpersonal connections often explored in games: one is about a long distance relationship between two women that is implied to be romantic, while the other is about the familial bond between siblings. These stories feature incidental representations of marginalisation, providing players with the opportunity to learn how it might feel to be in a situation that’s different to their own, and that’s underexplored in media.
The writing and voice acting in the game isn’t perfect, but it’s certainly interesting, and as more stories are released, the experience of those working on the title will increase and hopefully the quality will too. The game is blending multiple mediums in a way I haven’t seen before, and is producing intimate, empathetic experiences that are well worth engaging in.