Another IF Comp review, following my format for this comp. There is a cut, then any spoiler-free comments I have, and then spoiler space, and then more detailed feedback that assumes the reader has tried the game.
But first, we have some obligatory filler to try to make sure that the RSS summary does not accidentally contain any review. Filler, filler, la la la…
Okay. Here we go.
Man, this is a weird game. I shifted what I thought it was going to be about three or four separate times. Ultimately, it’s gory and off-putting enough that I didn’t really get into the story as much as I might have.
Still, it’s easy enough that you’ll probably get to an ending, and well-enough implemented that you won’t be cross-eyed with rage when you get there. Both of those are positive points, no?
I’m not hugely squeamish really, but there wasn’t much to the content of this game other than its ick factor. This was so extreme that it stopped being scary or horrifying really early in the proceedings. I would have been much more frightened if Nikolai’s joint had seemed mostly normal, with just a few disturbing hints that All Is Not Right. As it was, I started finding severed body parts right near the beginning, and the restaurant is almost too vile to take seriously. Meanwhile, Nikolai seems, shall we say, implausibly uninterested in my coming and going. Perhaps in the manner of arrogant movie villains he assumes that I am no longer a threat to him, but hmm.
Points, though, for an ending in which my right hand is a vampire. (Random disclosure: probably my favorite episode of Angel is the one with the Evil Hand. This reminded me of that. Briefly.)
After reading some other reviews: it looks as though other people got into this a lot more than I did. I wonder whether the determining factor is that a lot of these people got inside the restaurant before they started to find body parts. I found the eyeballs while I was still outside, which made it clear that something really nasty was going on, and reduced the shock factor of discovering subsequent body parts. It also felt unrealistic that I was expected to go ahead and start my health inspection when plainly I ought to be calling the police about my gruesome discovery.
For much of the game I thought maybe there was a serial killer at work, who might or might not be Nikolai, but the whole health inspection thing still seemed semi-irrelevant (though I obediently noted some of the more obvious infractions in my notebook because, well, it was there).
I think the whole thing would have worked more naturally if I had been able to begin the inspection under the illusion that it was (somewhat) normal.