Some bugs just don't want to be squished, so learn to love them.

26 September 2017

Categories: Games (6)
Tags: games (6) , review (2) , story (1) , design (1) , crime (1) , mystery (1)

Hello and welcome.

I’ve not done a review before. How hard can it be?

(Those were her last words)

I want to talk to a game that I finished playing with a friend last night at 1am. We finished it in two 2-hour sessions which started very confused about what to do, then confused about what was happening, then confused about what else to do. Released in 2015 by Sam Barlow.

A lot of confusion. Not much gameplay time. And no replayablity, once you know the story it’s kind of pointless going back and doing it again. If you have strong feelings about all of those, you probably won’t like this game very much. And that’s why I only gave it a 5. I probably should’ve gone even lower as there isn’t much “game” aspect to it at all, unless you count the hidden mini-game inside. But I’ve kept it at 5 because there is one big good thing that I enjoyed.

And that’s the way the story was told. I don’t think I’ve experienced anything similar before, so I found it very intriguing and very suitable for the genre it is representing. The main idea of the game is that you’re investigating a crime and are given a database of interviews nicely separated into small chunks and labelled so you can find them by searching for different things (e.g. “MURDER”, the default search word you start with). You only get to see the 5 videos that come up, even if your search returns more, which can bug you to know what else is there that you can’t see?

Game starts with a screen like this:

Old school computer, a bar to type database queries in, some random files and folders to explore on the desktop. The instructions are not very clear, but you get the hang of it as you play. I think it’s one of those games that you get into slowly and you just want to know more and more. I very much enjoyed the story telling design part of the game, great idea. And the performance/quality of the videos, very nicely done. Deserving the awards received there.

The big disappointment was the ending. In the sense that there was none. You got to watch all the videos and walk away with the satisfaction that you know what happened. Only intrinsic rewards available. No pat on the back for doing a good job, no nicely ordered videos for you to watch to revisit the story in order.

Fortunately the internet does contain all that. And spoilers too / help with search terms, if you’re into that. This includes a hack of getting to see all videos in order, which defeats the one great thing about this game, thus making it pointless - I would strongly recommend staying away from that one. But I will say that tagging videos is good practice, so you’re not lost in the pool of information you’ll have to dive in.

Recommended for the story telling design part of it, if you’ve got some time to kill.

Check it out on Steam if interested!

Have a lovely day,

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