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Never get between a milkmaid and her cows. Not even if you’re an evil alien tyrant queen with magical powers. Seriously. Milkmaids are not to be trifled with, especially Ruth, the protagonist of the delightful adventure game Milkmaid of the Milky Way. In this classic point-and-click adventure game, you won’t think twice about leaving your farm nestled on a Norwegian fjord to jump aboard the spaceship that abducted your cows. You also probably never thought you’d ever see a game made about a milkmaid and her cows being abducted by aliens from a farm on a Norwegian fjord in the 1920’s. Kind of a weird situation, but it nonetheless makes for a fantastic adventure.
As stated before, Milkmaid of the Milk Way is about a milkmaid named Ruth and her cows that get abducted by aliens. Ruth lives alone on her farm settled on a fjord in Norway after both her parents passed away. The game doesn’t explicitly tell you about Ruth’s backstory. Instead it provides a journal in her inventory for you to read if you choose so. In this journal, you also find her mother’s recipe for butter, which Ruth makes and sells in the town’s market below. However, one day when Erlend comes to pick up the goods, he tells Ruth no one wants to buy butter anymore. Margarine is all the rage now. Fortunately for Ruth, aliens abduct her cows as soon as she learns about losing her source of income. Chasing after her cows provides the change Ruth needs, but of course that change doesn’t come without its challenges.
Milkmaid harkens back to the classic adventure games of the 90s. You click where you want Ruth to go, and solve object-based puzzles along the way. Once Ruth decides to throw a coup again the tyrant alien queen, many of the puzzles revolve around a machine that transfers youth to aged things to make them young again. None of the puzzles are all that difficult, but some might be less intuitive than others. At times I found myself dragging objects randomly until one of them did something, and then wasn’t entirely sure what to do with the result… There were also some areas of the ship that I didn’t realize I could walk to until I stumbled upon them accidentally. Again, these were a only a few rare instances. However, the game only runs about 2-4 hours, so little things can be more aggravating than usual.
The strongest element of this game is probably it’s aesthetic. Milkmaid is probably one of the most charming games I have ever played. The ending even made me tear up a bit. You can tell Mattis Folkestad, the one-man team behind this gem, poured a lot of love into the development of his game. The first thing you will probably notice about this game is the gorgeous pixel art, which at times I couldn’t even tell it was pixel art. Folkestad’s use of color reminded me a lot of Mary Blair’s illustrations for Disney back in the 1930’s. The number of screenshots I took of this game is almost embarrassing…
The second thing you will notice in Milkmaid is that the entire game is written in rhyme. Actually, some people might find it annoying. If you didn’t like the rhyming in Child of Light, this game might not be up your alley. However, I loved the rhyming. It really adds to the charm of the entire game, especially to the sweetness of all the aliens, minus the tyrant queen of course. Similar to Child of Light, Milkmaid has a very storybook like feel to it, even though most of the game takes place on a spaceship. Honestly, the atmosphere is so well done that Milkmaid could be one of the most unique games of 2017. Nothing is overdone, nor underdone. Everything is just right.
Milkmaid in the Milk Way is a charming adventure game that you never thought would ever exist. If you ever wanted a science fiction fairytale about a milkmaid and her cows, then you’re in luck. From the beautiful art style, to the emotional but simple story, this game is certainly a little treat. The game only lasts 2-4 hours, making it the perfect game to play in between all those big holiday AAA titles.