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The first 30 minutes

  • Novalux
  • 11/15/2014 10:01 PM
  • 2016 views
Let me start off by saying I loved the title screen. I don't know what it means without a cat, but nonetheless it's stunning.

So, overall, the game didn't leave me with any strong feelings, but its an intro sequence, building up to something later. It's not self contained by any means, more like the literal first 30 minutes of gameplay. Which is fine by me.

Sound and Art-
Here, the game shines. Typical of this type of game, each room/ character has their own, distinct, music. The BG music had the "reversal/rewind" sound you see occasionally in movies. It's easily recognizably, but not a carbon copy, throwing in occasional twists and sound effects (clock chime). Speaking of which the sound effects are great. The laughter, the baby's scream, camera snap, all crisp. The text reading sound and menu selection sounds are satisfying. Still, nothing that'll be stuck in your head.
The art style is different, and sprites aren't your standard chibi fare. Rather, the room is more of a close up look, with all the objects custom made and large. Same with the character portraits. There were some custom touches added in, like animated mouths, that were nice.
Side note: I found myself thinking of Claire and Li-Eat art styles when playing the game, from the low key text-boxes, close up of the dog, character art, etc.

Gameplay-
"Can you tell me the name of this... dung-dwelling, putrescent, pustule pile of a pup here?"
You start by meeting two characters, both masterful poets. Big suprise, the door is locked, so you need to complete favors for them to get out. I'm going to have to agree with Liberty and say it feels a little like a fetch quest, but only because you're talking to the same people each time, the decorations seem to be exclusively designed for puzzles (except standard plants and lights), and you have to go through the same hallways and main hall each time (plus they're directly across from each other). Find something on the right, combine with something on the left, check in the middle- It's too easy for the player to notice the pattern. That being said, there are new areas and objects that reveal themselves each time, some of the puzzles are interesting (the ram) and the videos serve as nice break ups.

Videos-
Every so often while you're walking, the screen will cut with static to a first person camera view, black and withe, camera shaky. Alone, static cuts are annoying and unnecessary, but here they add to the game, because they show you something, and the camera/video motif. I'm guessing it relates back to the title screen, which is a fading/shaky camera shot, but can't know for certain until the full game's released. Playing on this theme, the save files are photographs taken by a bandaged ghost-person, screen flash, click, and all.

Characters-
"Favors for favors! That means you still owe us one more favor!"
Me: Wha?- No, it doesn't meany anything!
There are possibly 2 characters along with the protagonist, a relatively stale cast until more of the game is released. The main character is looking for a cat- that is the entirety of the protagonist. Then we have Babyface Jr. and Sr, both more or less the same. They like to rhyme a lot, and speak in an overblown Victorian English style ("Must we ask another favor? We must!") so yeah, pretty much a poet. Speech might actually fit with the time of in game Faust bust(1852-19XX). Babyface, for the only real character, is fairly static, though with the end I'm sure he'll be explained more.
Most of the characters are faintly alluded to through their relation to baby face- the father, the mother, the journal writer, the dog, the end baby (definitely a separate attitude). So there is pretty much only one character, but it makes sense because of the idea that an alternate mime/baby's face latches on to different people, as shown in the film. Everyone is somehow related to the secret past of the mansion (I'm hoping to find out how the photographer is).
Side note: Its interesting how the character hardly reacts when the weird thing approaches you after the film, or when being chased. More focus is left on the player, the PC isn't much of a character themselves. Which is a nice break from overplayed fear reactions typical of this genre.

This game has a lot of explaining to do, I know that much. There are themes of pregnancy, family, babies, (miscarrige?) woven in everywhere, and I have no idea how its all tied together. I have the feeling there's much more than this story than the surface appearance of a demonic kid.

Various notes:

I like the curving stairs.
What if the save photographs changed over time, or after a major event?
Crib is shown one too many times. But I suppose that's what they do in games like this, just be careful going foreword not to overdo it.
Photographer is like black cat from witches house.
Baby face has an odd sense of humor
Is taller guy the dad?
Who is faust? Father, other? Relation to folk tale?
Ram puzzle misleading with egg, dead bird as possible food.

Posts

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Even though it's only the first 30 minutes, I think things should have been introduced a lot more excitingly. The slow pace of the main character and the overblown way in which things are exposed leave a lot to be desired - it's a bit tasteless, sometimes. But hopefully these issues will be resolved better along the rest of the story.

This review is pretty well written. I liked reading it and it gave me another insight into this game, which has a lot of potential but sometimes fails to reach it. I hope the completed game is really cool.
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