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Screenlife or screendeath?


Screenlife is a very short (10 minutes?) RPG Maker VX Ace creepy adventure, more akin to the visual linear genre, by Wikimon, the author of COATS, a very interesting game that I will surely review soon (but today I has few time so I chose Screenlife!).

Screenlife, released in 2015, is the interactive horror story of Donald: for some reason that he does not remember, he's stuck inside a little apartment that is like a cell since so many days he cannot remember. Here he has a simple job, everyday he gets a message from someone that needs help, and he has to reject everytime, otherwise the boss will come and kill him. Leaving the room also means being killed, so Donald is stuck here, not alone but with the memories of "Her", in any case do not expect a lot of story since the game is rather brief, and for this reason I will stop here.

That's the room in which we're confined. And guess what? We've to get out! But this will ever be possible?

In Screenlife you can save anywhere, and despite its short length, that's a wise thing to do since there are several instances in which it's possible dying, and not all of these are just refusing to refuse to help a victim. So safe often, I died at least three times before reaching the ending.

Anyway what we will have to do? Basically the game is divided into three visuals: cutscenes (that are not interactive), computer use where we will LISTEN (yes, the game is voice acted even if the sounds of voices are edited, pity there are no subtitles!) to some people and choose their destiny, and a top down view of the apartment where we can interact with the few items present (it's basically a single room!).

Being this an horror game expect some jumpscares and creepy details like spiders, worms and blood, it's an unsettling game even if there is no gore or violence nor explicit morbid scene, on the contrary it's often debatable that all that Donald perceives may be just creations of his broken mind, or in other words, hallucinations! Unfortunately the game is very short and will leave a lot of things unexplained, that's a pity but from the description there was the idea for a sequel.
On the other hand the visual style is very interesting: this does not look like an RPG Maker VX Ace game, there are some custom made cutscenes, some creepy and others more relaxing, the effects and sounds are also well used and stand out... pity that this scenario is so short. Time to give a rating!

I like coconut... but not just the smell!

Final Verdict
The premise of Screenlife is interesting, and despite the semplicity of the gameplay it's a game that surely will leave you yearning for more, or at least this was my sensation at the end of the scenario. Some parts were never explained, but at least I'm happy that it's not a scenario that uses the "it was all a dream" overoused trope! Anyway if you like short horror tales like the ones you could find in the good old short horror story collections (that typically were short and left the reader wondering about what really did happen or what was going to happen next!) you won' be disappointed. Unfortunately despite its "interactive" nature you must be warned that there's the illusion of choice, since disappointing the boss means death, and this makes the game not only short but also linear. On the other hand the visual style is memorable, so while this is not a special game I can recommend to everyone, it's still an interesting mini interactive adventure!