Juniper Crescent - The Sapphire Claw is a cartoon comedy game for the PC driven by a strong, compelling story and lively, fun characters.
Based on characters from the comic strip, Juniper Crescent, the player controls Scout the One-Eyed Cat as he reluctantly agrees to search for the fabled artefact, the Sapphire Claw.
Helped and hindered by his friends, plotted against by Big Mog and his henchmen, and dealing with a host of trials and tribulations along the way, Scout must find the ancient device and save the day.
During the game, the player will have the opportunity to take control of other characters and utilise their unique skills at key moments. Many of the obstacles and challenges require an intelligent and thoughtful approach to the best use of resources at hand.
Alongside the main story's quest and the gameplay associated with it, there is a parallel strand of gameplay, which is being kept under wraps for the time being.
The game is presented in a 2D style, with hand-painted backgrounds. Its high resolution (1024x768) and attention to detail, ensures that this is a game with a contemporary approach to a tried and tested heritage. Taking some of its inspiration from a number of genres - not only the look and feel, but also the way the game plays - it is an exciting blend of traditional and modern ideas.
The game sees Scout the One-Eyed Cat, a teller of tall tales, embark on a lengthy quest to discover the location of a fabled cat artefact known as The Sapphire Claw, aided by a team of his friends that the player must bring together. With their lives at risk from the notorious Big Mog, Scout has no choice but to embark on a series of escapades as he seeks out the device.
The player, controlling Scout, must gather his team as he first tries to rescue the young dog, Roly, and then sets out in search of the Claw. Using the skills of the team is very much part of the gameplay and ensuring that they are up to the tasks asked of them is something the player should be on top of at all times.
A rich use of the game inventory is also a strong part of the gameplay, including Blinky, the mouse that Scout meets at the beginning of the game. Once the small companion has been placed into the inventory, Blinky becomes the source of the in-game hints, as well as providing a summary of what's happened so far, for those players that need a reminder of where they are in the game. Blinky has other uses, too, which means that the player uses him like a normal inventory item at times. There are times, too, when the player will take control of Blinky for brief periods.
Because it has an additional gameplay thread that runs completely parallel to the main thread, the player will never be lost for something to do. In order for the parallel thread to develop, though, new areas in the main game must be opened up, which guarantees that both will progress side by side.
There will be a number of Easter Eggs spread throughout the game, which the player will have the opportunity to trigger by various out of the ordinary approaches.
It is a strong belief that, in recent years, there has been an overall reduction in the number of things a player is able to do in any given area of a game. This has come about through the opening up of vast game worlds without a similar expanse in the amount of gameplay. This means that at any one time, the number of interaction possibilities the player has open to them is relatively low in number.
In a marketplace that demands games filled with variety and high interest, low Interaction Density is something that should be avoided in order to compete. High action games have managed to address this issue most successfully in recent years and now it is the time for other games to follow suit.
To ensure great variety and high levels of interest throughout, The Sapphire Claw will be designed so that each location contains high Interaction Density, with items to pick up, characters to talk to, obstacles to overcome, and background objects to examine. No locations will exist simply to look pretty; each will pay its way and serve a gameplay purpose.
Variety is best illustrated by the inclusion of Scout's team. Not only must the player build the team early in the game, but must also use the members of the team in a way which takes advantage of their individual skills. This is something that has not been fully utilised in this type of game before.
The inclusion of additional gameplay thread will ensure that the player will always have a rich variety of things to occupy them.