Strung Up - Cameron Crosland (14), Sheffield
A charming, somewhat challenging metroidvania with a gripping story.
You play as an old woman called Sam and her granddaughter Lana. They set out on a quest to find 7 strings that make a rope that can tie souls down to the world, keeping someone alive after death. There are 8 worlds, each with their own story and characters. There's platforming, combat and collectables all over the world. You switch between both characters to take down enemies, solve puzzles and more.
The game is full of charming dialogue and shows the effects that immanent death has on people. The ending has a twist though; Lana set out with her grandmother because she thought the roe was for Sam, however it turns out that Lana has an illness that will kill her in a few days.
Lana's purple scarf is replaced with a rainbow coloured one made from the strings, and she lives happily in her late grandmother's cottage. Meanwhile, Sam has passed, but is so thrilled and energetic that she dances and laughs forever in purgatory, unable to be bored. The strings you collect would give Sam abilities that are necessary to beat the game.
The target audience is for ages 12 and above (The darker theme of the game would be unsuitable for really young children and they may not understand the story, but there is no blood). There may also be a mode that makes fighting easier, for those who want to enjoy the story but aren't very skilled at the game.