Guardian Episode One is a text-based interactive game from writer Edwin McRae and the Auckland game studio Metia Interactive. Part one of a trilogy of adventures focussing on a young Māori warrior in a dark fantasy version of Aotearoa (New Zealand), the Guardian series is a hybrid historical/science-fiction story that draws on the mythology of the Māori culture in New Zealand. Guardian is also a global story and taps into the universal human need to belong and understand the mysteries of the world we live in.
You are about to guide Māia on a treacherous journey where decisions aren’t simply about life and death. The gods are watching Māia very closely, judging her behaviours and weighing her choices. Māia‘s mana is at stake in many of the moves she will make. Choose wisely as your health and mana depend upon it.
Guardian Episode One begins outside a traditional Māori settlement in Fiordland, New Zealand. Guardians protect the people, and one guardian, Māia, is censured for her strange nature. While Māia lives outside the settlement, in the forest, her loyalty remains strong to her people as she protects them from hostile outside forces.
In the context of Guardian, ‘mana’ represents Māia’s personal and spiritual power, her will, her integrity, and her inner strength, rather than the usual understanding of ‘mana’ in traditional RPGs. Episode One has three different endings depending on what Maia’s Mana Score is at the end of the game. Player variables are tracked throughout, with Māia gaining or losing mana points based on the decisions she makes, and whether those decisions are honourable, kind and pro-social or whether they are ruthless, cruel or anti-social. During the game you meet two gods, Hine-nui-te-pō (Goddess of Death) and Whiro (God of Darkness). Māia’s mana score is instrumental in deciding which god favours her most.
Guardian also features a choice and consequence system. Instead of simple branching, Māia’s decisions can often trigger subtle and dynamic consequences (sometimes delayed), altering character attitude and the wording of conversations, or influencing story-driven combats. These combat are played out via a series of text-driven choices, requiring players to read carefully for combat hints, accurately assess the current situation and then choose the appropriate attack. And if the player dies, there’s a narrativised death and resurrection system set within Hine-nui-te-pō’s underworld.
- Interactive fiction with strategic elements.
- Based on the mythology of the Māori culture with a modern spin.
- Real and mythological New Zealand creatures.
- An atmospheric soundtrack.
- Full-colour chapter illustrations.
- In-game glossary to aid the understanding of Māori language (Te Reo) and concepts.
This is a journey that will take the player into a world of mystery and impending mayhem while discovering the truth behind an ancient secret. Guardian will showcase New Zealand’s cultural identity, highlighting its many beautiful regions in a contemporary and original storyline.
Guardian Episode One is now available to download and play for FREE on Android devices from the Google Play Store, with an iOS version to be released soon.