We've seen video game adaptations of movies. We're finally getting a video game inspired by musical theatre. What we don't see are video games based on literature. God of War is the closest example that comes to mind, and that's still Sony Santa Monica's take on mythology. Truly adapting old stories, making them interactive, and retaining their ability to inspire thought sounds like a massive challenge. A challenge that Elsinore takes on masterfully.
Elsinore is the work of Golden Glitch, who call their game "Groundhog Day meets Hamlet." The idea is that you're stuck in a time loop, and the tragedy of Hamlet is in full swing. You may be able to prevent some of the many deaths at the end of the story by sharing information about the future with the right people. But you may also inspire them to take the wrong answer and cause a whole set of different deaths. Also you're Ophelia, so there's already a tragic end in your future.
I got to play through one loop at IndieCade, and I can honestly say I had no idea what to do. And I mean that in a good way. I was free to roam about the castle and speak to almost anyone. Sometimes they were too busy, but then I could just have Ophelia follow and eavesdrop. When I was in conversation, Ophelia was able to bring up any event in the past. Yes, even things that happened in past time loops. The characters would react accordingly, but I didn't always know where that would lead. Was I making things better? Or just speeding us to a grisly end? That is one of the questions Elsinore seeks to tackle.
When asked if there was a "good ending," the developer at Indiecade told me that I should have asked what I was willing to sacrifice to save what I deem important. Many game developers and publishers act as if their game is mysterious and full of endless possibilities, but the algorithms eventually show. Elsinore, however, appears to actually be delivering a mystery worth puzzling over. It's got mostly positive reviews on Steam, with praises going towards the story. Many say the characters stuck with them after the fact, often a mark of good writing.
Elsinore is already available on Steam. It's a must for fans of adventure games or theatre, a sentence I didn't think I'd ever be typing.