Somewhere: The Vault Papers teases the possibility of an immense conspiracy unfolding — but the only way you can find out more is through texting. French developer Norseman Interactive has teamed up with publisher Playdius on its debut messaging-based narrative mobile game. It launches March 8 on iOS for $3, with an Android release to come at a later date.
The player must guide Cat, a journalist who’s been investigating a whistleblower’s claims. At the start of Somewhere, she texts you on accident and from then on, you must help her make decisions to stay alive when people begin pursuing her. Depending on your choices, the game has six different endings to unlock.
The story progresses in real-time, much like other mobile games that have mimicked text conversations such as The Pixel Hunt’s Bury Me, My Love, which details the struggles of Syrian refugees escaping to Europe, and Three Minute Games’s astronaut thriller Lifeline. However, Norseman Interactive has added another mechanic to the mix: You’ll also have to open up Google Maps to help Cat at certain points in the game.
Mobile texting games evoke a certain sense of true immersion. The games’ user interfaces often imitate real messaging apps, which can make the stories feel even more intense. Somewhere’s inclusion of Google Maps adds yet another parallel to the way folks commonly use their phones. It also incorporates some elements from alternate reality games (ARGs) as players will occasionally have to search for clues on the internet to solve puzzles.