Thursday, April 18, 2024

REKA looks to be the perfect gothic cottagecore game

Have you ever seen a game that made you say ‘wow, that looks totally my sh*t?’ If you have, you know exactly how I felt when I caught sight of REKA from Berlin-based studio, Emberstorm Entertainment.

Despite having no demo available to play, REKA caught my interest thanks to its premise: you play as a witch that lives in the open, sparse woodland area where you need to collect ingredients and resources to build your very own home.

From the brief video shared on their official Twitter page, REKA seems to be a mismatch of unsettling strangeness found in most gothic texts, as well as the gentle, but rewarding warmth of resource management and construction. It’s a little unsettling, but it’s really cozy about it.

The atmosphere is definitely what stands out the most in the short, #PitchYaGame trailer that the developers have shown off. Scary as it might be, there’s an odd sense of calm as we’re shown the dwindling sunlight cast over the water and grass and how it juxtaposes the foggy areas of nighttime. It’s foreboding, but calm.

But what strikes me the most is how lonely REKA appears, and what that empty space means for your role as a witch. Witches have been a symbol for so many different things: feminism, queer sexuality, anti-religious groups… Neither are better-suited emblems than the other, and all have meaning, but for me it’s how REKA establishes your goal as being to build a home, a place for you to call your own, your private space in a land far away from the civilization of other villagers. Why? Because it shows the importance of boundaries.

Boundaries are such a hard thing to establish when you are the ‘other’, a term that fits the role of a witch to a T. So in creating your own space, and making it with your own hands, there’s safety and a place where you can be yourself without fear. It’s like queer, gothic cottagecore and I, for one, am all for it.

REKA will release sometime in 2022.

Aimee Hart

[She/They] Aimee Hart specializes in queer fandom, video games and tabletop, having started her career writing for numerous websites like The Verge, Polygon, Input Magazine and more. Her goal now is to boost LGBTQ+ voices in the video games industry.