Star Fetchers is an episodic Action-Adventure sword-fighting game developed by Svavelstickan, with the first part released on January 17, 2020. That's the simplest introduction possible, because...
Young adult Sanyati works a dead-end job where they have no real purpose but to make the store owner's son, Billy Bob, feel important. Depressed by the thought that they aren't living up to their great potential, they meet Zambezi, a street thug who invites Sanyati to join their gang, which Sanyati declines. After being assigned to euthanize the pigs and take out the trash twice, Sanyati considers quitting, but before they can, a group of gangsters smash their car into the store and hold it hostage. Things seem hopeless, but then Zambezi shows up just in time to kick their asses and tell Sanyati to join them.
Now Zambezi and Sanyati are a gang, the Thornz, and their quest is to assert their dominance over every other gang in the Grey Zone, and accumulate capital while they're at it.
And through the whole thing, both protagonists only ever fight with swords, which are controlled via mouse. Even against guns.
The pilot episode is free, and available on Steam for download. The developer's website can be found here.
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- Aerith and Bob: The two playable characters are named Sanyati and Zambezi (named after a pair of rivers in Zimbabwe). The first other named character we meet is named Billy Bob.
- Ambiguous Gender: Sanyati and Zambezi's genders are never stated outright, although fans have often assumed them to be either both girls or both boys, often as a pretext for shipping them.
- Art Shift: The full-screen illustrations the game shifts into for some cutscenes look very different from the normal art.
- Art-Style Dissonance: Sanyati and Zambezi? Adorable. Various characters are cute or at least pleasantly designed. The actual story, however, is about sword-based gang violence, and the gameplay is bloody to say the least.
- Black-and-Gray Morality: Sanyati and Zambezi aren't quite what you'd call heroes, being petty thugs who commit crimes for a living and are happy to slice Mooks up by the dozens. Still, Sanyati is clearly at least somewhat bothered by the violence, and compared to the other gangs they come across, they're practically saints.
- Bread and Circuses: Discussed when the protagonists come across a goblin-like character sitting by a soda vending machine:Goblin: They just released a new flavor, indian stew, it is fucking useless.Sanyati: Hah... ok?Goblin: I usually tell people to stop buying this shit here. If I can force this one to be non-profitable I can put this whole thing down. Fuck these machines.Sanyati: Well I'm not thirsty anyhow So you're telling me you want to end this vending machines whole career?Goblin: Hah, you're funny.. Not just this machine, all machines you see. Don't you realize what this thing is?Sanyati: A... machine that provides cold delicious beverages?Goblin: No you fuck. This is the embodiment of the eldritch parasite of capital itself. The fucker is reproducing right infront of our eyes, in fact you, the costumer, [sic] is breeding it.Goblin: Do you think it is a coincidence that we can't stop making these things? Pushing out a new and exciting flavor each month?Goblin: Can you imagine stopping production? Just leaving technology behind, going backwards? Even the apocalypse is easier to imagine.Goblin: We are already possessed by this virus, forcing our minds to contribute to its birth.Goblin: Artificial Intelligence is not what it seems, it is a being from another reality trying to force itself into our timeline. We are birthing the very creature that will end usSanyati: ... okGoblin: .... Nevermind... Try the drinks.
- Bullet Time: Available as a rechargeable mechanic. And you're gonna need it.
- Cop Hater: Zambezi. Though they're not quite averse to cooperating with them when it's necessary.
- Cruelty Is the Only Option: Killing at least one pig when told to euthanize them is necessary to advance the plot.
- Devil Complex: The Boss of the Suburban Satans, who looks a lot like the man himself, and is proud of how "cool" his gang's name sounds.
- Dysfunction Junction: Sanyati is depressed and listless, working at a dead-end job and wondering if they're just destined for failure, and is indecisive about the gang activity even when they join. Zambezi has become used to the gang life, and as such is thoroughly desensitized to the violence that comes with it.
- He Knows About Timed Hits: While exploring, Sanyati comes across a Save Stick. Zambezi immediately tells them they have to sit on it. Lampshaded when Zambezi admits they have no idea why it's necessary to sit on Save Sticks, other than that they're nice to sit on.Zambezi: Idunno where these come from. They just kinda popped up out of nowhereZambezi: But they sure feel super groovy to touchZambezi: ....Zambezi: Don't question the save stick!
- Ludicrous Gibs: Every character, when killed, usually bursts into a bunch of chopped-up pieces, spraying blood all across the room.
- Mind Screw: In spades, given the plot, setting, and premise. Also invoked when the protagonists open a portal and see a huge black-and-white eye that presents them with such sentences as "The Devil's eating bitches in the suburbs" and "Convenience will steal your life away".Zambezi: What the hell was that?!
- One-Hit-Point Wonder: All it takes is one stab or one bullet to kill either the player character or most enemies. Fortunately, when the player is killed, the game only resets to the beginning of the room.
- Parrying Bullets: The primary method of defending when an enemy has a gun. Manually.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Zambezi is the opportunistic, action-loving Red Oni to Sanyati's pacific, melancholic Blue Oni.
- Shout-Out: The aforementioned goblin's description of capitalism and artificial intelligence is remarkably similar to accelerationist philosopher Nick Land's proclamation that capitalism is an artificial intelligence which "comes from the future", using humanity as a tool for its own reproduction rather than the other way around. As well, his(?) assertion that "even the apocalypse is easier to imagine" than stopping production is a near-direct quote from either Fredric Jameson or Slavoj Žižek, both cultural philosophers.
- Totally Radical: Many characters speak in slang, specifically in late-2010s Internet and street slang. Only sometimes used for comic effect, though; usually it's presented as normal.
- Widget Series: Or, rather, a WST (Weird Scandinavian Thing).