I’m starting to think I have a thing for unconventional “games.” Please Say Hi is one of those visual stories that makes you slightly uneasy, not from dread, but from the familiarity of it all. The day in day out grind of the protagonist is eerily similar to one of my past corporate lives and I wondered, had I been rendered in 2D, muted hues, would I have looked much different?
Me too, red-headed game protagonist. Me too.
Well, I didn’t have a fancy cappucino machine.
Please Say Hi should come with a trigger warning but staying for the after credit scene may release any pressure on that trigger. I’ve already said too much. It’s listed at Armor Games under “5 Minutes,” but take it a bit slow and get into this quiet story.
It’s not a game. You’re objective is to listen, not necessarily to dialog (there is none, though there is a wonderfully mournful song that plays while you watch. “A Raven Monologue” by Mojiken Studio is, per the description at Itch.io: “a short experimental silent story about a raven that does not know how to croak and his relationship with the people in the town.” The illustrations are masterful, part art deco, part Edward Gorey (my art critique game is weak) and compelling. The song by Christabel Annora is haunting and well-suited to the muted colors and melancholy undertones of the “Monologue.” I found myself drawn into this drawn world and heartsick when I had to leave. If you find the experience as wonderful as I have, please tip the creator the $3 to get the fan pack. These image will be decorating my monitors for a while.
I really want to love “The Night Henry Allen Died.” Everything about this browser game at Armor Games appeals to me. I love the isometric graphics. I love the music and sound design. I love the story. I love the whole idea of this game.
I just didn’t love playing it.
This is probably more about my own inadequacies than any of the game, but I found myself completely stymied by two things:
The controls: I’m not new to isometric gaming, nor keyboard gaming, but intuitively I found myself thinking that the upper-left direction was “up” and not “left” as coded for the game. There are only a few areas to explore but because my hand would not adapt to the game’s cardinal north, I found navigating terribly frustrating. This could also be due to the starting area, where the exit is found in the upper left.
The dialog: I’m all for a game that’s based solely on dialog, but I would have liked to see conversation choices that I had already run through eliminated, especially as you gain more information or meet more characters there are more items to scroll through. As with the movement controls, this is only done through the arrow keys and by the time I tap down to the newest topic of discussion, I’ve forgotten why I’m even asking.
I played one time last night after seeing it mentioned on Twitter. I went in with the best intentions and felt frustrated by the controls. I decided to leave it for the day and come back to it fresh in the morning. Unfortunately, I had the same issues, my right hand unwilling to reorient itself to the controls and the incessant down-arrowing to get past old dialog became stale quickly. I proceeded further than yesterday, but I can’t say that I found the second play-through better than the first.
“The Night Henry Allen Died” is a potentially interesting game, particularly in its story…goal(?), however some basic control issues keep it from being a more immersive narrative.
Continuing the Renaissance of Girl Adventurer’s Casual Reviews, I combed the last few weeks of Weekday Escapes over at JayIsGames.com. Apparently ole “Jay” is looking for writers, and yours truly was dang near ready to log into my Prodigy email account and send over an how-do-ya-do. Buuuut, perhaps let’s wait until I’ve had more than a few reviews spread over a four year period, ya?
This little gem caught my eye, and while the quick write-up in the original post didn’t make much sense of the SBK escape game, those commenting picked up on its charm. The cliché description would be “escape room inception,” yet, that is also the best description. The gameplay is what you would expect from escape games, but the twist in SBK was delightful. With each, let’s call it an iteration, I found myself smiling at the creator’s cheekiness. Well done.
SBKMan’s other games include: Cat Escape (猫の脱出）- which is adorable and features a cat that shoots invisible lasers (apparently); Charlotte’s Room and Charlotte’s Room 2 (I admit I got stuck on this one) which work as companions to Cat Escape (if not early proof of concept). Desk (机) is frustratingly adorable, yet the only thing you have to escape is your own messy surface. It was nice to discover SBKMan’s games and not suffer through the 400th version of Monkey Go Happy.
Sometimes the Weekday Escape at Jayisgames.com pisses me off. Actually, it’s these damn Candy Room games that piss me off – and I KEEP PLAYING THEM. An easy way to spend ten minutes while putting off things that actually earn me money – brains are weird.
Another room, similarly set up with a new design layout. Think of an escape room game played on the set of Changing Rooms (not the terrible US remake that was Trading Spaces) and you’ll get an idea of what Candy Room’s about.