This review contains spoilers

I hate ARG bullshit.
I hate its self-bemused nature.
I hate the exploitative and addictive nature of its "burn its own paper trail" conspiracy-bait nonsense that plays off the mind's desire to see patterns and solve questions.
I hate the sentient game character bullshit and frankly I'm quite tired of it.

I think this is the kind of game whose means are the same as its ends, like a conspiracy that exists to continue itself, rather than to communicate or express something of its own. I think compared to other games I've played that have this kind of conspiratorial atmosphere, Persona 2, Xenogears, and Metal Gear Solid 2 all use the conspiratorial mindset to comment on something really cool, and this one ended up feeling unsatisfying.

There is an argument to be made about it commenting on the nature of players' desire to uncover everything about a game, needlessly prying into a world that isn't theirs to the detriment of that world and themselves, although I think that idea was better explored in Undertale.

There's also the argument that the game is commenting on the strangeness of game development itself, this strange idea that inside your own computer projects that there can exist a single file or data that imparts something of great importance, that can completely change you or even the world. That slaving on it in isolation, answering question after question of your own designs could possibly create something out of nothing, something unbelievable, something so awesome or it even worth the cost? The reprecussions to ourselves, the people we love?
But I believe this idea was better explored by The Hex, this developer's previous game, and by possibly the best game to address that idea, maybe the best game about games, the internet, and people's desires to reach outward to find themselves in our dreams of information, Hypnospace Outlaw.

The kinds of games this developer makes are equally cringy as they are scary, and somehow that cringeness doubles back and makes it even more scary, in ways you didn't know were possible. The more you look at the things you dismiss for being silly, the scarier they become. Maybe I'm scared at the reasons I'm finding them scary, lol.

I think I'm also just tired of games being about games. Games need to branch out and express other kinds of experiences, industries, worldviews, cultures, lifestyles, etc. I don't want to play games about games no more :(

The card games were pretty fun tho

Reviewed on Jan 25, 2022


2 years ago

awesome review !!! i agree completely i think

2 years ago

yeah, big agree with you about the lack of diversity in game making.

seems to me that of all art forms, video games are by far the most obsessed with self-perpetuation and self-reference, it's remarkable that 20 years since mgs 2 and almost 30 since earthbound we are still clinging to the same metatextual 'hmm but... what ARE videogames really? huh...' tricks