The beard: deep philosophical metaphor or anthropomorphic final boss? It could really go either way.
Paul Franzen may have doomed his newest project by admitting in the teaser trailer: “It doesn’t have zombies. It doesn’t have ninjas. It doesn’t have dinosaurs.” While we struggle to breathe through the meme-sobs this admittance has caused, let’s consider what still-promising The Beard in the Mirror does have: a LucasArts/Sierra-inspired point-and-click style, a story of modern adult malaise-meets-childlike fantasy, and an absolutely charming husband-and-wife team that are infectiously passionate about their creation.
The Beard in the Mirror stars Paul, our 22 year-old protagonist with an apathetic life agenda and no real sense of who he is or where he’s headed. His life up until this point has been relatively mundane, devoid of any crazy, fantastical excursions—or so he believes. This memory is challenged by a beautiful woman who appears in his bedroom one night, claiming to know Paul from past adventures they shared. She opens a door between his current reality and a fantasy world where “magic, danger, romance, and the promise of adventure” await.
As expected from a classically-inspired point-and-click adventure, death will definitely be a possibility, and a fantasy setting does not signify “kiddy.” The fairly short intro trailer notes both a potential head-explosion and shows Paul being decapitated by a scythe-wielding, tri-headed giant. We’re also suspicious that the water buffalo at which Paul shouts “HI CREATURE, WHAT’S UP?!?” does more than just wander away peacefully.
The Beard in the Mirror began as a for-fun text adventure shared over instant messenger but has grown into a passion project for the two-person, husband-and-wife team of Lizo and Paul. With the hilarious adventure Life in the Dorms already under his belt, and an expert knowledge and appreciation of the genre between them, The Beard in the Mirror has more than a solid base. Watching the developer duo describe the game is almost as enchanting as the gameplay footage itself—and so is the most adorable surprise hug ever [0:54].
The Beard in the Mirror will be coming to PC “whenever it’s finished,” which means there might be time to stick some dinosaurs in after all. Or not? We’ll play it either way.