As I step into this room again after all this time I’m met with a tsunami of emotions. Has it really been so long since either me or Marie was here all those years ago. I think to myself “Christ it’s been 20 years… I must be getting older than I thought”. I start to look through the rag tag of boxes throughout the room. For a girl who was thorough she sure left a lot of her crap laying around the place. she wanted that journal she had been keeping when we were in high school and had sent me to find it. stupid thing was supposed to be out of a box but I couldn’t see it and after trawling through all the trash I found it in the corner of the room staring at me… I stood for a moment thinking away “one little look at the inside couldn’t hurt”
In this riveting but surprisingly short tale that’s told you play as Kelsey, former childhood friend of the never seen or heard Marie whose room you have come to ransack 20 years after an incident had caused the friendship to end. You start off with seeing the room as it is in the present day, baron, void of life after decades of neglect by Marie but with the journal remaining in solitary right in the edge of the room. Upon retrieving the journal, you are magically transported 20 years into the past to just before the incident between you and Marie. The story follows how you came to know Marie, the backstory for both characters and the infamous Trevor who right from the start is a real douchebag guy! And follows how their friendship blossomed before the incident that leads them to go their separate ways. The story has heartfelt emotion to it and can be both light and heavy hearted at times with the player shown to be far from the worlds greatest friend to Marie eventually.
Jumping to the twist and finale of the story and not spoiling it I did find it a good story twist and an enjoyable plot point but also …rather predictable… you spend a lot of time learning about this character and her links to Trevor and what happened to Marie and her dad and after so many bits of dialogue saying Kelsey was sorry you kind of guess what has happened and it reveals itself to be that way. Now I admit I didn’t guess it all, there’s a specific part between Kelsey and Marie that I wouldn’t have been able to guess and even though I saw it coming much like Han solo in the force awakens it still pulls on heart strings 😥
We’ll skip the usual stuff here as these types of games are still really hit and miss for me gameplay wise and het straight to the basics. The game revolves around the player searching Marries room for artefacts to interact with in order to get brief looks at the past between Kelsey and Marie. Each artefact is unique and contains its own piece of the story with the player gradually getting more and more clarity about why you’re even there and what the incident that shook your friendship with Marie was. In the end you unlock enough pages in the diary to (minor spoiler) get the code for a case that is under the bedside table that will show you the end of the game ALTHOUGH I didn’t get all the story items and guessed the last code number in the journal because I couldn’t find one stupid item because I’m worthless at looking for things as much in games as I am in real life it seems.
the sound in the game is pretty basic for the most part but the music that is there is well done and pleasant on the ear, the song the record player will play when you interact with it was really soothing for me and I found myself playing it more than once while I wandered the room looking for interactable objects. The biggest focus point here for me would be the voice acting, there is a surprising amount of voice acting for such a short-lived game and every object that you can interact with will have its own short bit of voice over. The voice work is great and has emotion and sounds natural, the script for these little nuggets of emotion is clearly well written except for a few lines I didn’t quite think fitted as well as they could have. To compliment the sound work of the game the developers spared no shortage of time on the aesthetics. Lighting is lifelike and flows naturally into the room and the colour scheme and art style for the objects that you interact with is done very well in a slightly softer style than the game I compared this to which was Gone Home (another personal favourite of mine) which this definitely had that vibe off all over it at times. The games look is soothing and easy on the eye and creates the relaxing atmosphere you would want while going through the story.
Due to the games really, short length the developers have opted to do something interesting with the game and have removed the ability to save at all. Every time you leave the game you’ll have to start again and frankly I agree with this. There isn’t enough length or added content here to justify the feature and it means that every load of the game is an experience of the story.
I don’t really have any ‘grievances’ with this, make a change from my usual stance except maybe not enough gameplay. More cut scenes could have made it better and some animated ones would have given the other characters more form and life making me more invested in the tale but given the games length its far less of a grievance than normal
In the end I cant find myself not recommending this game, its length and the fact that it’s free forgive a lot of issues that I would normally have with this style of game and I did find myself enjoying the story that’s being told even if I think it could have been fleshed out over a slower moving game with more content. If you can I would definitely pick up the title on steam and even if you only play it once and aren’t that into it its half an hour long … not the worst way to kill less than a lunch break 😛