Wonderfully weird space/cow adventure
Size: 215 MB
Platform: iPhone / iPad
Update! Milkmaid was a surprising mix of nostalgia and weirdness when it came out and felt truly unique when games were becoming more and more polished. The pixels sure were strong with the one. So, what happened to this game? At the time we noted it was a little short… does it still feel that way?
So what’s new? The game has only received one update and that added French and Norwegian languages, so little has changed. Considering so many people loved it but noted its short length, it was a shame the game was never extended or given a sequel. In fact, the developer doesn’t appear to have done anything since. However, that almost adds to its charm, providing a short, wonderful snapshot in time. A short story that both stands up on its own, and holds up.
Revised rating: These days, it feels like a solid ★★★★½
You simply have to wonder whether Milkmaid of the Milky Way initially started life as some kind of bizarre word association game. Then you have to wonder which came first. We’d say it’s not overly spoilery to note this game turns into an exciting and strange sci-fi adventure, shortly after beginning as a milkmaid in the mountains of 1920s Norway. In fact, you’ll probably forget about space altogether after the first half hour of playing because of how engrossing the process of making cheese becomes in the games opening gambit. “Oh, so that’s why it’s called Milkmaid of the Milky Way,” we exclaimed after the dramatic arrival of a juttering spaceship ‘pon the mountain. As if we hadn’t just recently read the App Store description and seen the screenshots that decreed all of this.
Let’s back up. In Milkmaid, a brand-new retro-tastic pixel-filled point and click adventure game, you play Ruth. She works solo on her farm in the mountains with her cows, producing butter and cheese for the town-dwellers below. The story starts when you can’t find your bucket to collect the milk to begin the dairy product-making process. This prompts a long exploration process for the player, finding different paths to various areas of the farm. From the roof, to the barn, to the hills, to the lakes, to the plains. It can get a little long-winded trekking across vast environments, but it’s engrossing nonetheless.
Eventually, once you’ve made the butter and cheese, the guy that comes to collect these from the town informs Ruth that no one wants her butter anymore. Her cheese, sure. But not her butter… because of supermarkets. It’s a remarkably heartbreaking twist in the tail, but it sets up the main crux of the story: that Ruth is pre-destined for greater things. And those greater things… come from space.
Yep, this is when the aliens arrive and suddenly the game is a whole different kettle of kippers. Without giving too much away, you have to interact with a whole host of weird (but largely friendly) characters as you try to find out more about the world these creatures have come from, and what they want from Ruth (and her cows).
The game itself is pure adventure, and rarely gets bogged down in puzzles. It’s not easy to solve the clues and move on through the game; usually just requiring one quick lateral thought to solve it before moving on. As a result the pacing of Milkmaid is swift, and it does feel like the game is over a little too soon. That’s not to say the story isn’t complete or doesn’t come full circle, but it’s worth noting this isn’t a long game. For some, this will be perfectly acceptable. In the age of mobile gaming, it’s easy to put down your device and forget about a game, or you simply don’t wish to spend hours and hours playing. Milkmaid is a nice, condensed and enjoyable adventure story.
Owning a personality all of its own, Milkmaid is a great experience for any level of gamer. The graphics take a little getting used too – those pixels sure are bold – but the charm of the story and its characters are there from the start. Created by developer Mattis Folkestad, playing Milkmaid of the Milky Way would support indie iOS developers in its purest form, and we heartily recommend it. Oh, and did we mention all the dialogue is written in rhyme?
- Unique storyline
- Interesting graphics
- Lots of twists and turns
- It's fairly short