• Add Review
  • Subscribe
  • Nominate
  • Submit Media
  • RSS

Charming ambiguity

  • Darken
  • 09/13/2011 12:23 AM
  • 4587 views
I love the original gameboy. It's between the NES and Atari in terms of overall capability, but everywhere in my memories. With its monochrome 4 shade pallete, I have always acquired an eerie vibe when playing through the gameboy's library. Walking through the ghastley streets of Lavender Town, getting lost in the Mysterious Woods, and other childhood moments have always risen above the latest next gen production of what is assumed to be called "atmosphere."

Wither, in its gameboy demake form, is almost there in capturing all of that. However it has some minor mistakes that bother me (the default fade in/outs in rpg maker for one) but I'm glad it gets the pallete and sound effects right. Wither does decide to take its own direction however, it invents its own style to differ from the games it pays homage to.



Wither starts with the protagonist uttering his first and final words that's incidently the goal of this game. You are then thrown into Wither's world in full control. The game is similar to Yume Nikki in terms of simplicity, you interact with objects or NPCs in order to collect flowers. NPCs will usually give clues to where to find the flowers in an obvious (maybe slightly subtle) manner. I enjoy the lack of battles as they would have disrupted the straight forward nature of the game. If battles were implemented the creator would be tasked to add in healing items, weapons etc. Lengthing and losing focus on the project. Not that I'm saying battles are bad, but I think with this paticular game, it was right to exclude them. Wither is a simple adventure game, nothing else.



The dialogue is written in all capitals which is a small detail people miss when reffering to games the old. Back then most developers were too lazy to add in lower case fonts and just went with capitals. I like it as the writing is done in such a way that it relies on it for added charm. The most amusing messages come from the second person narration that bluntly (and with implication) describe the protagonist's feelings. They sometimes catch me off guard, so I will not spoil any of them to you. NPCs have a certain coherence to the overall setting because they are concerned with their own problems and their own activities leaving the player to step forward to grab evidence on where to go next.

The game is short, but it seems to be a cute little bundle of dreamlike moments. Moments in video games where you aren't given much context, but you just roll with it anyway. Wither is full of that, and shares a lot of it with titles such as Space Funeral or Yume Nikki. The second person narration is written to support that, it is the high point of the game and I really respect it in all of its minimalism. If you're willing to kill a good 30 minutes, give Wither a try.

Posts

Pages: 1
I really do like the look of this game! Good review, Darken.
I love you, if only for comparing my game with Yume Nikki and Space Funeral.
Glad to see another thoughtful review for this game. I had the same feelings about the gameboy feel and the lack of battles (battles would have no place in this game imho, it's strictly an adventure game). Loved the feel from the all-caps text--kind of ironic since I loathed that as a kid, but it holds a certain charm for me these days.

I wouldn't call anything but the graphics cute, though. This game has a morose, bittersweet (more like 90% cocoa) feeling, which I loved.
I played the game throught this review. The game is pretty nice.

Its a very short game with a basic methaphor and theme, with a adventure gameplay oriented to that. The graphics and the music have a very interesting charm that fit very well in it also.

I liked a lot and its duration again fit very well the theme and history.
author=Rastek
I love you, if only for comparing my game with Yume Nikki and Space Funeral.


Not taking anything from Wither cause I really liked it, but we're getting to a point where everything slightly different from the norm is called "Yume Nikki" or "Space Funeral".

I don't agree with the comparison.
author=calunio
author=Rastek
I love you, if only for comparing my game with Yume Nikki and Space Funeral.
Not taking anything from Wither cause I really liked it, but we're getting to a point where everything slightly different from the norm is called "Yume Nikki" or "Space Funeral".

I don't agree with the comparison.
I wouldn't call Wither slightly different from the norm. You have to admit, RPG Maker is filled with a lot of... well straight forward RPGs. It's only natural that you'd fit 3 games with heavy themes of death and abstraction along side each other.
author=calunio
author=Rastek
I love you, if only for comparing my game with Yume Nikki and Space Funeral.
Not taking anything from Wither cause I really liked it, but we're getting to a point where everything slightly different from the norm is called "Yume Nikki" or "Space Funeral".

I don't agree with the comparison.


and from Link's review

author=Rastek
author=calunio
Well, as I've said it before (many times), I think it's kinda stupid that a game can only make sense if you talk to the person who made it. That a game doesn't make sense by itself.
:( I've had people play this game and figure it out by themselves. I wanted to make a game with a story that wasn't obviously apparent, but apparently I made it too obscure?


??????????

at risk of sounding melodramatic (forgive me but i have strong feelings for "video games"):

I would without second thought say that Wither is (positively) similar to Yume Nikki, not just because of the deliciously morose feel that teeters on despair (with tiny little sprinkles of hope here and there), but more importantly because the game really becomes what you make of it. Everything is open to interpretation; it makes you feel and think and feel and think some more until it's 2am and you're staring at the title screen lost in thoughts and feelings that are hard to describe.

I think I have thought about and analyzed and pondered and wondered at Wither definitely more than any other RM game since Yume Nikki, and more than the vast majority of indie/commercial games I have played. In this Wither is very, very different from the norm.

(man now i know i have to get out my review asap, i wrote something more comprehensible there and have a lot of theories that i would like to run by the developer...)
author=mellytan
(man now i know i have to get out my review asap, i wrote something more comprehensible there and have a lot of theories that i would like to run by the developer...)

Do it. mellytan reviews are the best.
author=mellytan
??????????

at risk of sounding melodramatic (forgive me but i have strong feelings for "video games"):

I would without second thought say that Wither is (positively) similar to Yume Nikki, not just because of the deliciously morose feel that teeters on despair (with tiny little sprinkles of hope here and there), but more importantly because the game really becomes what you make of it. Everything is open to interpretation; it makes you feel and think and feel and think some more until it's 2am and you're staring at the title screen lost in thoughts and feelings that are hard to describe.

I think I have thought about and analyzed and pondered and wondered at Wither definitely more than any other RM game since Yume Nikki, and more than the vast majority of indie/commercial games I have played. In this Wither is very, very different from the norm.

(man now i know i have to get out my review asap, i wrote something more comprehensible there and have a lot of theories that i would like to run by the developer...)


Haha,those are the feelings I wanted to instill in players! It was kinda based in my own experience with Silent Hill 2, which was the first game that made me want to try to figure out what was going on. I read plot analyses online, went to forums, discussed theories, and in general had a blast. I wanted to make a game like that, one that forced you to pay attention to figure out what was going on. Of course I always run the risk of people just saying "I don't get it" and not enjoying it at all :/

Ah! That's not against calunio personally at all! I really admire him and find his games really smart.

Also, mellytan, I'd love to hear your theories.

PS: Holy shit one thousand downloads, what happened.
I just wrote a review, it's pending.
Pages: 1