Finished my first playthrough of Subsurface Circular. Felt somehow close to Kentucky Route Zero, with much less emphasis on feels; it plays straight for the most part, a whodunnit where, oddly, the detective never lifts their robotic behind from their seat, unity of place of time and place, (artificial) life swirling about the protagonist, ‘geo-locked’ inside the titular Subsurface Circular, an underground train built exclusively for Teks, antropomorphic machines endowed with varying degrees of intelligence, that have progressively taken over the traditional jobs and roles of humans, feared and despised for that, but still under the strict control of the human ruling elite, known as ‘the management’.
An essentially cerebral experience, Subsurface circular, with its protagonist going round and round endlessly, felt like having a lot in common with plays, including the dry delivery. A game for those who like to sit and think about what they’ve just seen and played, while the credits roll, and afterwards; being light on underlining, I suspect it runs the risk of some finishing it, without so much noticing there were dots to be connected.
The themes seemed related to some of the major trends contemporary societies are experiencing, though I haven’t had a chance to really ponder about the details yet, just like I haven’t had one to explore the breadth of the branching narrative.
With games like this, I usually am content with going through once, however, unlocking the directory commentary has enticed me into taking a second tour, at least. The game is short enough: a couple hours, and is meant to be played in one sitting.
I don’t know, it sounds like part of a class of Metroidvanias that just don’t work for me. It’s not like I exclusively enjoy linear games to the detriment of everything else, however, the way Metroidvanias do non-linear, feels a little like a spaghetti maze of constant roadblocks, too old-school.
Dead Cells to me never felt like a Metroidvania, I don’t know why, and the number of games that are generally regarded as Metroidvanias, that I’ve managed to finish, can probably be counted on the fingers of one hand.
Off the top of my mind, the only game with MV elements I’ve completed (well…) is FEZ, though I doubt most MV fans would apply that label.