Gerda: A Flame in Winter is a narrative-driven RPG-lite game that’s about the life of a small Danish town that’s living through World War 2 through the eyes and actions of the protagonist, Gerda.
As World War 2 that’s waged on most parts of the world begins to wane, the small town of Tinglev starts to feel the grasps of the Third Reich begin to strengthen on them. The small and initially invisible resistant group begin to show its head and start to act as a way to rebel and hoping to take back their village from the Third Reich.
Things aren’t as simple as that as the village of Tinglev’s minorities welcomed the German forces due to the fact that they were once part of the German Empire till shortly after the end of World War I. Resulting in the village having two sides, one supporting Germany, the other supporting Denmark. And in turn leaves Gerda torn into two, as her father is German and her Mother, Danish.
Intentions Mean Nothing
Balancing Gerda’s opinions of the different factions and characters and their opinions of Gerda is not an easy task. Siding one side will no doubt open the pathway and choices for situations to help them when circumstance warrants it, however it’ll be at the risk of blocking off other possible routes that could help Gerda if she were to try to side the other end. Gaining the trust of the people you encounter is paramount whether or not the trade off means sacrificing your humanity, as Hell is full of good meanings, so let your deeds decide that heaven will be full of good actions.
At the end of major scenes, Gerda will write in her journal on how a situation happened and from there the player can decide on what she learns and picks up on from that situation which will grant her a point for Compassion or Wit or Insight which she can spend in certain dialogue situations which will assist her given she has enough opinions on a faction/person that can sway it to her benefit.
Right Place Right Time
In terms of the gameplay aspect to GAFIW, it solely relies on player choices in dictating where the story goes, be it in dialogues or making the choice on where to be in. This is where the difficult nature of the game comes from. Rarely does a choice have a clear cut answer as there’s a level of risk and reward on your decisions and trade offs. You can interact with some items in the environment which would give you an item which you can use for certain dialogue options or scenes.
The aesthetics of GAFIW is like a well made watercolor painting being animated and coming to life, in terms of characters and the environments excluding the assets. Colours have that soft look to it with pleasing and gradual tones. The highlights of the style is emphasized in some scenes such as sunsets or at the start of a scene.
As in Real Life
The main strength of GAFIW is the story. Rarely do we get the chance to learn about countries that are affected by the World Wars outside of the usual general coverage, especially if you aren’t from the area. And with tackling such a heavy topic in human history, it is hard not to be affected by it. The manner GAFIW tells the story of how life was like back then together with its story telling of the game simply immerse you into the world as though you are going through it.
If you are a fan of history or want to know more about it or are into narrative driven games then Gerda A Flame in Winter would certainly be one you shouldn’t miss. A highlight for a narrative driven story for 2022, that is a flame that reminds us of the dark period in our history that won’t go out no matter how long time has passed until we’ve learnt from it.
Hailing from a small Island. Huge football fan. Drinks too much tea.
Survival, Roguelikes, Turn-based or Indie games in general are my go to genres but I like to dabble in all kinds of genres. I tend to have a soft spot for Shmups and Hidden Object Games once in a while.