I actually haven’t done a proper game review for a while, but then again I rarely ever stumble upon a game like this.
I say game, but this is a piece of interactive fiction. You play as a mother determined to get her whole family to come and join her playing World Of Warcraft. But you face a huge obstacle, you see, no one actually cares.
Any gamer will know that trying to explain a computer game to someone who really does not care is the second most difficult thing in the world, topped only by making them interested enough to play the game with you, and that’s the first thing I love about this game. It faces the player with a REAL challenge. Something they can relate to.
The second is the staging; The game takes place almost entirely around a kitchen table – lovingly drawn doodles show you the mother, with her husband to her left and daughter to her right. You guide what the mother says by clicking buttons on the bottom half of the screen, while seeing the effects on the top half. It is strange for a game to be so restricted in setting, usually taking place in huge and expansive worlds, but this is different… the lack of colour and simple layout is all quite appealing to the eye in some obscure way.
The third is the fact that there is just enough dialogue options to keep the game interesting. Players – especially on their first run through (and trust me you’ll play it more than once) – often find themselves behaving just like they would in real life. The quiet types may choose the subtle approach while the more brave charge in for the all out speech, and the fact they do this at all reflects how deeply this game involves it’s players. You feel very involved with the protagonist, because people project themselves onto her, her personality becomes your personality, and your goals become hers.
But the fourth and final thing is how simple the coding must have been for this game. This is a game that could be created by a starting programmer (provided they have the patience for all those doodles) and don’t think I am criticising the game, as it is beautifully designed. It proves that even if you are not a top-notch coder you can still make something excellent provided you have the brains.
I rarely ever stumble upon a game like this, something so elegant yet involving. A game with no music, no clever programming, just a few doodles and buttons, that grips it’s audience so fantastically.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joseph, or Lawsome, as the internet folk call him – Spends a lot of time making games, most of which fall apart or don’t work and are never published, but the few that survive can be found on his account at Yoyogames http://sandbox.yoyogames.com/users/Lawsome1997. He mainly enjoys writing about game theory but you’ll see him do a few reviews. He avoids games that look generic and would rather play something original than something fun. He has strong opinions on games and can hold his own in an argument, if you tell him that COD MW3 is the best game ever he may bite your head off.