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In tune with the Danse Macabre: the rhythm of Middens

We can define a ‘midden’ as a refuse heap and from what can be gathered from stray dialogue this fits the setting of Middens perfectly. Called the Rift, we soon learn it to be the stitched together scraps from better loved dimensions. Thrown into this is the quiet protagonist, a masked nomad acting as a perch for a manipulative talking revolver. Like a surreal falconer they travel together hunting, looting and admiring the rude bizarrities of the landscape.

Middens departs from typical RPG style in that there is no invisible cage keeping you inside a story, but is instead free range. We are left to explore in a Dadaist Myst and thankfully this is a pleasure unto itself. One may check every crack and corner and be pleased to find them filled with more absurdities. The stylings are beautiful and the game serves as an incredible gallery for the creator’s handmade works.

I’ve known myformerselves, also known as Clowder, since high school. What I noticed in the beginning was his talent with poetry. He could partner the most unlikely of words in an harmonious euphony. Although collage is a less understood and respected medium, it is a natural growth from this manner of poetic symmetry. And this game is collage, both a brilliant use of it and a commentary on its place in art.

What is struck in this way is a rhythm. The idea of music plays a great role in this game. Upon winning a battle the Nomad hums a diddy. To reach hidden corners of the Rift, one must strum a guitar. But what goes beyond this is the rhythm of the game. This rhythm will carry you about like an ocean current and lead you to feel like you are more than playing the game but exploring it beneath the avatar’s mask.

Enter into the game as its eastern styled spirituality begs. To play this game is to alter the Rift. What is gone here will not come back. Its resources, including enemies and NPCs, can be depleted leaving us with a hauntingly silent world. However, even when the Nomad was taken out as well, I felt I was still there, stitched into the Rift.