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Review: Avant-Garde

Title: Avant-Garde

Publishers: Newgrounds

Developers: Morvan and Mnemusyne

Platforms: Browser

Release Date: Out Now


Avant-Garde is a simulation game where you play as an artist in nineteenth century Paris; still in development, this is the Alpha version released in early March.

Extremely innovative in its adaptation of the 19th century Parisian art world, Avant-Garde exhibits great potential. Welcomed into the game by the forefather of French modernism Edouard Manet against the backdrop of Gustave Caillebotte’s ‘Paris Street; Rainy Day’ of 1877, the game is clearly situated on the brink of a turbulent artistic era. Throughout the game, you meet numerous famous artists such as Gustave Courbet and Claude Monet, each of whom can teach you alternative skills to use to develop your own masterpieces. In the studio, you are presented with numerous alternate genres to choose from to base your art works, such as landscape, portrait, allegorical or historical, some of which are in higher demand than others which relates to the reality of the nineteenth century art market. The game therefore, promotes itself as being educational by incorporating historical culture into the contemporary and interactive medium of a simulative role-playing computer game.

The game is extremely addictive at first as you strive to paint a masterpiece worthy of being accepted into the great Salon, and once your work has been accepted your next goal is to be awarded a gold star at the annual exhibition. These goals are clearly laid out as you begin the game and for this reason, at first, your objectives are logical and achievable.

Yet, after an hour or so of game play, your objectives are revealed as being almost too achievable, as even the most basic productions are awarded gold stars at the Salon while also reaping in thousands of Francs per painting. As wonderful as this may sound, the game gradually becomes tiresome as you spend most of your time drinking absinthe at the local café, which strangely enough has absolutely no repercussions.

The game needs to be more challenging to be truly successful. Despite playing the game numerous times making different choices, it seems inevitable that you will end up in the same ending position. You are presented with the opportunity to either befriend or become enemies with each and every artist but there are no negative consequences to antagonising your competitors, which, quite frankly, is pretty boring. There also appears to be a few glitches associated with learning the “non-linear” painting style as well as developing your own manifesto. The game could also benefit from visually showing the development of your art works.

Conclusively, the concept of the game is extremely innovative yet it currently falls short of being anything revolutionary. Hopefully the game’s final build will prove the developers capable of realising Avant-Garde’s full potential.

By Laura Woulfe