It’s late evening. A family is dozing in front of the TV, their dog at their feet. Suddenly the TV turns to static, the ground shakes. While the parents peacefully sleep on, the toddler stirs. Oh no. I instantly expect nothing but the worst for the toddler, seeing whose game I’m playing – developer Jumpship was co-founded by Dino Patti, himself co-founder of Playdead, the studio behind Limbo and Inside. Both aren’t exactly known for treating their child protagonists well.
Somerville has clear stylistic parallels to Playdead’s work. Its 3D sidescrolling and light puzzle mechanics are similar, and though Playdead’s Chris Olsen worked on the art long before Patti joined him, the beautiful lighting effects and minimalist environments have led a lot of people to initially confuse Somerville as a Playdead game.