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Acrylic is a mess, a very funny mess.

Honestly I don't know how to feel about acrylic as a game. I couldn't tell you what this game was going for, but it went for something and failed miserably. What tries to be a spin on the classic RPG horror game, ends up face planting so hard it ends up in china rather then japan.

The art is, well, ironically bad. I can understand not being good at art, but there's a lot of traced/"inspired" designs. Others are either ripped from google with a filter applied, or are so bland and unoriginal (not to mention jarringly higher quality), they certainly feel ripped right off of google. You can tell many bases were used in the making of this game and it ends up feeling like a total mess. While I can see how making the floors look like the art style that they represent would be a good idea, but it simply looks like a filter, or little to no effort was put in. For instance, the pottery floor appears to have a brown filter and a grain effect applied instead of making everything brown, maybe shinier, actually making it look like pottery. The sketching wing, most of the sprites just look like a black and white filter was applied, instead of hand making the sprites to look like they were actually sketched. While it is understandable to get lazy with these things (trust me, I know from experience), that doesn't make it any more acceptable.

The gameplay has to be the best/worst part of the game, which I can't tell if that's a compliment or not. Acrylic, to stand out from the crowd, implements a death mechanic, where in order to get the best ending, you are required to experience at least 20 deaths. You can grind out one death multiple times or see all of them scattered around the school. I would recommend the latter option because the deaths are actually quite entertainingly funny, at least the first time around. Arms get chopped off, ripped off, heads get decapitated, it's all good stuff. The problem arises when the player starts a blind run, without any knowledge that is told through the game directly. Acrylic doesn't tell you much about the death mechanic, the closest it gets is saying that Nicole (our stunningly odd main character)'s ID tracks how many times you die. There is death lurking around every single corner. Even the most arbitrary things can obliterate you to a pulp in a matter of seconds. The worst part about it is the mixed messages it sends a new player. For instance, one mighty infuriating part is where there's two bathroom stalls to choose from. One of them kills you, and the other holds a necessary item to progress. Now, either the fresh new blind player picks up the item first, and checks the other stall to see if there's anything there, but is greeted by death, and a restart from the last save, or the player dies first, and is too scared to check the other stall, and therefor cannot progress in the game. This sort of game design is a lose/lose situation if you don't know before hand what to do, and it frustrates me to hell and back. Hell, even indicating that one stall is more dangerous then the other would be fine, maybe have black stuff coming out of it, making the player curious, but knowing all too well that something bad will happen, but no. There is no difference between the stalls, and the player is forced into a weird corner where there is no way to win. This kind of game design is in a lot of places in Acrylic, especially with the Pencils, the optional collectable of this game, which brings up another very bad problem...

Now, no item has any indication where its at. There is no sparkle, there is no way to tell which tiles have items or not, you just have to interact around and hope to find something that you need. I don't think I should have to explain why this is really bad, but it gets worse. Not only can items be anywhere (especially pencils), death can be anywhere too. So while you're trying to interact with every object in the environment, you will see yourself dying over, and over, and over. This both encourages and discourages exploration to a new player, and sends an odd mixed message of "explore, there are things, but don't explore, you'll die.". It quickly turns into a game of saving every room you step in which is not a good thing whatsoever. It's embarrassing how random death can feel, or how random an item can be placed. For instance, on the fifth floor, there is a canvas, which if you look under it, which seems perfectly safe, will decapitate you immediately. This in one of the many instances of random unpredictable death. Now, when it comes to items, on the second floor, you need four quarters to buy a strange doll from a vending machine. These four quarters are in a random desk, behind a stack of canvases, in a potted plant in the corner, and in one of the bathroom sinks. These are impossible to find if you have no idea to check everything, because nothing stands out as odd or out of place. There is a potted plant in every room so why would you check that specific one? None of the desks had anything in them, so why should I continue to check them? It's devastating to a new player. Mixing in all the death you'll encounter with that, you're in for a terrible gameplay experience that doesn't know how to handle its mechanics.

Lights. Usually this isn't a category to judge a game on most of the time, lights usually work fine, flashlight mechanics, yada yada yada. The problem lies in the beginning of the game, and the fourth floor. When you first enter the school, it's pitch black, and I mean pitch black. It's borderline impossible to do anything without getting close to the screen and squinting. On top of that, you're forced to wander around this new place you've never seen, in total darkness to find a flashlight somewhere on the first floor. This is unreasonable. While the floor is not too large, it is too big to expect anyone to navigate through without a bit of light. I would not be surprised if most players simply turned off the game after wandering for five minutes without any direction. Then, we get to the fourth floor. The fourth floor your flashlight batteries go out, and you're required to find new ones, which are behind a locked door. This is not to mention that the game manages to get even darker. I could not see a thing even after turning up my brightness and saturation to the max. I simply pressed buttons practically at random, hoping that I would wander off to the right room. Lucky me I eventually did, as tempting as it was to burn the PC down in frustration. But, if you want your batteries, you have to find one specific chair that nobody would think to look in, with no indication to where it is, so you can find a student ID card to make it into the development room, where batteries lie. I don't think why I have to explain why this is an atrocious abomination of game design that should be burned down to the ground the next time it rears it's ugly head up from the ground, so I'll move on.

Music is eh, alright. It suffices. It rarely changes though, and starts to get on your nerves after a while. On floor four there is one room that has a slower more creepier version of the main theme, which made me ecstatic! It was about time to hear something different. Sadly, it is only this one room in this entire game, and the music plays nowhere else, which is a damn shame. It's much creepier then the main theme, but maybe that's because I've listened to the main theme too many times, but it could be worse, I guess.

overall feel is a total unadulterated mess, no question. The game feels mostly like parody, poking fun at other RPG horror games with its mechanics and story, but then out of nowhere things will get very serious very quickly for no reason other then what feels like "we have to be edgy", which is not good considering the themes tackled in this game go along the lines of sexual assault of a minor, suicide, and brutal descriptions of murder when its trying to be edgy. It's a total tonal whiplash that ends up feeling just, silly once you recover. It's honestly sad that I couldn't take a damn thing this game had to say seriously, because of the rather lighthearted feeling tone of the rest of the game. While some seriously disturbing things were happening, all I could do is giggle and poke fun, because it was impossible to take anything the game had seriously so suddenly. There are ways to use sexual assault, suicide, etc to further your games plot, but it has to be properly set up (See: Wadanohara and the Great Blue Sea), it has to make sense with the tone, and, yeah I'm going to be honest it needs to be toned down a bit. Everything was described in horrible detail, and maybe that would have worked in a game other then Acrylic, but not here. For once I'm giving the advice to tone down the detail. It would make the scenes where stuff like this pops up more impactful. By going into detail, it ruins everything. It's hard to go from silly parody feeling game to serious "I was almost raped" territory within split seconds.

The story exists. That's all there is to really say. There's a decent twist at the end, but it doesn't really work because none of the characters you care for, you're just sitting there giggling uncontrollably. Like I said, maybe this would have all worked out in a different game, or maybe if the game had a more serious tone, but here it just feels, eh. Nothing has any kick to it. It's a good twist ending on paper, yes, and I was actually caught off guard the first time I went through it, but it didn't mean anything, because I didn't care about the characters in question. Call me cynical, but yeah it just doesn't do it for me.

Overall this was a total mess of terrible gameplay with good gameplay mechanics, serviceable music at best, a story that whips you around in all the wrong ways, and it all just falls flat when put together. Nothing in this game works like it should have. Literately nothing. While it was a very funny and fun game to play through, it was in a way like, per se watching the room. I didn't care about Chelsea, we just called here ChelSachiko the whole time, because I could not care. At least it was an attempt, and I hope your sister was at least happy with the final product.

Here's my drawing of ChelSachiko, consider it fanart if you will, even though I'm not much of a fan.