Ben Mohr-

Many congratulations are owed to the University of WisconsinStout students behind the 2016 game “Everend.” On March 2, the team was honored with the Best Visual Quality award at the national Intel University Games Showcase.

On the topic of Everend’s unique artistic style, team member Megan Daniels explains that “We had three to four strong digital painters on our team, so we really wanted to play that up with a very painterly style.” With its earthy colors and interesting textures, Everend boasts an abundance of beautiful landscapes, the likes of which invite players to explore and discover.

Along with stunning visuals, Everend has an intriguing storyline as well. Telling the story of a young, injured owl lost in a cave, players have to help the owl find her way home. . . with some twists involved. To get an idea of what the game is like, a player’s initial experience will be as follows:

“You awake with a start, only to find yourself in a dark and dreary cavern, all alone and feeling very confused. Your last recollection is of being in the loving embrace of your mother, but she is now simply nowhere to be found. You rack your brains for anything, anything that might explain how you may have found yourself in a place like this, but fall short in this attempt, for nothing will come to mind. But wait . . . oh yes, that’s right – the volcano. It erupted. And now you are here. All alone.

“You quickly decide that the first order of business is to pick a direction and start walking (after all, doing something must be better than doing nothing). This soon proves to be a more difficult task than you initially had thought, for all too frequently you find yourself struggling to avoid the protruding stalagmites that scatter the puddle-ridden ground of the cave. Fortunately, this task does not prove impossible, for your way is dimly lit by the glow cast by the luminescent mushrooms that speckle the cavern walls.

“You turn the corner and gasp with discomfort as a blinding flash of white light assaults your unprepared eyes. Squinting, you can just make out the form of a large shimmering owl towering over you, enticing you to come near. . .”

Sound interesting? The full game is available for free download here: