Milkmaid of the Milky Way Review
Milk and Morning Glories
“What happens when a young milkmaid sees an alien craft in a fjord in 1920’s Norway?” asks the Steam Store Page for Milkmaid of the Milky Way.
The answer is a short, simple adventure game that’s hard not to be charmed by, despite its brevity and simplistic design.
The titular Milkmaid of the story is Ruth; a young farmer living alone in rural Norway, who happens to run into a spot of extra-terrestrial trouble after a mishap involving her cows. While the light-hearted tone and fast-paced structure of the narrative leave the story feeling a little emotionally weightless, the plot still takes a couple of interesting twists and turns that will keep you invested to see it through to the end, even if the journey there isn’t always consistently engaging.
Your time spent playing as Ruth consists of running through the standard fare of point-and-click adventure game tropes; be it light puzzle solving or item fetch quests. In this sense, Milkmaid of the Milky Way very much sticks to the formula of the genre rather than attempting to reinvigorate it, and that can sometimes diminish the entertainment ascertained from the experience. You’ll often find yourself running back and forth between the same environments, mindlessly clicking on stuff to try and figure out the answer to a poorly communicated puzzle, or accidently repeating the same conversations with various NPCs. These annoyances don’t completely ruin the experience, but they certainly don’t do it any favors either.
Depending on how quickly you can solve Milkmaid of the Milky Way’s puzzles, the entire game can be completed within two to three hours (four at a stretch), marking it down as a tightly paced but ultimately fleeting experience, which might disappoint those looking for something meatier to chew on.
All that being said, there is a lot of appeal to Milkmaid of the Milky Way that still makes it worth a shot for anyone interested in point-and-click adventure games. For a start, all dialogue comes in the form of rhyming couplets, giving the story a wonderful sense of theatricality to it; for all that it does to play it safe, Milkmaid of the Milky Way is the first game I’ve ever come across that literally tells its story in pure poetry. This device also allows for the appearance of some incredible lines, such as “We don’t need anything from your inventory, unless it’s a man’s morning glory!” Like I said, pure poetry.
Milkmaid of the Milky Way’s art style and music too, both lovingly crafted and composed by the one guy (Matt Folkestad) who makes the up the development team behind the game, are a joy to behold, and complement each other well as a means of delighting the senses with a calming yet cheerful audio-visual aesthetic.
“A short, simple adventure game that’s hard not to be charmed by”
In a time where games seem to be increasingly camped into the two polarized categories of “must-play work of art” or “hot pile of trash”, it’s honestly quite refreshing to be able to say that Milkmaid of the Milkway is just…nice; nothing more, nothing less. It’s neither ground-breaking nor majorly extraordinary, and it probably won’t stay on your mind for long after you’ve played it, but the experience itself is a perfectly amusing romp, buoyed by some interesting storytelling devices and a pleasant artistic style. You won’t be missing out if you decide not to pick it up, but neither will you be left short-changed should you end up jumping in to enjoy this sweet Norwegian vignette.