The world of indie development surprises us, from time to time, with titles like Puerto Viejo. And it is that the only (and the best, on the other hand) way to face the enormous limitation of means that these studios face is with enormous amounts of creativity. a tremendous level of design pampering and great attention to detail. Elements that, unfortunately, we do not find in the triple A as often as we would like, and that in the end cause these jewels to stand out more than the big launches.
The list of indie games that have surprised us is endless, and it has Notable titles such as Stardew Valley, GRAY, Undertale, Hades, Hollow Knights, This War of Mine, Papers Please or, originally, the almighty Minecraft, to give just a few examples. Titles that have in common, as I indicated before, being productions with a very limited budget, in which only a great idea with an excellent development of it can prevail in such a competitive market. And after having tried it, for my taste Puerto Viejo deserves, in its own right, to be part of that list.
In Puerto Viejo, available on Steam for 4.99 euros, we will put ourselves in the shoes of Miguel, a small but daring hustler whose father left shipped years ago, and of whom he has not heard from again. Far from assuming his disappearance, and when he saw a ship similar to the one his father left for arriving at the port, he decides to speak with his crew to see if someone can give him news about his missing father.
From this point on, Miguel will face in Puerto Viejo a vast and challenging set of casual mini-games, in which you advance on a quest adventure through the Golden Age of Spanish letters, in which as soon as we take the first steps we will find ourselves in front of a Lope de Vega, more interested in conquests than in lyrics, although he finally found in the former a part of inspiration for the latter. Of course Lope de Vega is just one of the many “invited” figures, but I prefer not to mention others to preserve part of the surprise if you decide to play it.
The mechanics of Puerto Viejo are extremely simple, as you progress beating the minigames you will unlock some dialogues in which you will be exploring the history of the game, and in which you will also be able to enjoy some notes of sense of humor suitable for all ages, and that at least have made me a few smiles. Not in vain, and as stated by its developer, Bocata Games, Miguel is inspired by El Lazarillo de Tormes, so it should inevitably bring a touch of picaresque.
Regarding its artistic elements, the illustrations that accompany the development of the history of Puerto Viejo are simply beautiful, and a clear example of the pampering that, as I indicated at the beginning, allows indie games to stand out against proposals whose budget is several orders of magnitude higher than that of this type of independent development. And the same can be said regarding its delicious soundtrack..
I believe that It is clear that Puerto Viejo has seemed like a sensational proposal, something that I partly relate (and I think it should be clarified) with the admiration that the series The Ministry of Time has produced in me since its first chapter or, even looking much further back, the game that Micronet will publish, back in 1992, in the that we should put ourselves in command of Columbus’s expedition in search of an alternative route to reach the Indies.
Spreading history is not easy. For many people, talking about history is limited to repeating dates and names on a run, something that is not at all attractive, and that limits its scope. The enjoyable dissemination either in online media such as the A Toda Leche channel, in books as entertaining and addictive as those of the historian Nieves Concostrina, in audiovisuals such as El Ministerio del Tiempo or in games such as Puerto Viejo, they always seem like excellent news to me.
And it is that Puerto Viejo, like the examples I mentioned above, are not an academic approach (nor do they pretend to be) to history, are works of entertainment that, at their base, are armed with historical elements interesting for most, and that in many cases they can be the trigger for an interest that, later, can be deepened. In other words, they amuse us, they make us have a good time and, in addition, they put us in contact with something as interesting as history. How could you not think that this game is a gem?