Ever wondered what it’s like for a mole rat to have depression? I admit I hadn’t either, but Duru takes us on just that journey. Focusing on misunderstandings and issues people have in their day to day life, Duru follows the story of Tuli, a mole rat with depression. Tuli also has a companion Bel who can either help or hinder her through the puzzles we encounter in the game.
I love the concept of having a companion that isn’t necessarily there to help you. It’s an unusual feature in a game and a great visualisation of depression. Twisted Ramble Games, the studio behind Duru, aims to increase awareness of depression and provide suggestions on how somebody might help a friend, family member or colleague suffering from it.
Duru is a 2D puzzle platformer told through visuals and has no dialogue. Tuli can draw objects into the world to solve puzzles, but Bel may ruin the plans. This means Tuli has to work harder to get through the puzzles. This is a great way to display the struggles of depression and how it can make life more difficult.
The art style in Duru is quite lovely, and I’m looking forward to hearing more of the soundtrack. The user interface is easy to understand with dialogue displayed in speech bubbles. The devs have done this on purpose to make the game accessible to as many people as possible so that everyone can enjoy the game.
Duru is a fascinating idea for a game, especially living in a world where depression and anxiety are more prevalent than ever. An AI companion that doesn’t always help you also brings an added challenge to the game. What do you think of this style of game to bring light to depression? If it’s something that sounds interesting to you, be sure to check out the Kickstarter campaign.
Want to know more?
Kickstarter ends: 29th August 2020
Platforms: PC and potentially Nintendo Switch
Release date: September 2020