else Heart.Break() tastes like misery made into a game. John was spot on, at least for the first half the Impressions post.
Getting the modder was a surprisingly underwhelming moment, it doesn’t really cure any of basic problems with the design while adding a whole new layer of ???: I was hoping it would cut down on the walking, however the first modder doesn’t hack doors, and while you do acquire a new movement option (Slurp()-ing) it doesn’t work as well as one could hope because, to use it, you need to know the name of the place you want to go to.
The language doesn’t look like the old Basics I’ve used, and the only way to learn how it works, appears to be hacking stuff left and right, but it’s more complicated than it looks simply because there’s a whole lot of functions with what I would say, not extremely communicative names, so for many of them I basically forget what they do or in what context the moment I close the editor, which, BTW, is way too basic.
So basically, you’ve got this game where the main activity is still walking around, fighting the camera, trying to figure out how to make stuff work, what to do next, and supposedly making Trello boards to keep track of what you’ve discovered, what happened, and what you’re going to do next. (well someone suggested coding a PIM or something into the game itself, but TBH at this stage I have no idea how to do that).
The conversation adds very little to the game, as it seems the vast majority of choices produce no consequence, and it’s giving me little chance or motivation to bond with the characters.
It’s quite frustrating because you can see glints of something a little special inside the box, at the same time it’s like… Bring Your Own Motivation/Fun? dunno, maybe it’s aimed to a more hacker type of person?
Which leads me to the question whether games can teach one to program, I would say TIS-100, with its reference manual, carefully thought out difficulty curve and focused, contained design looks like a far better choice than else Heart.Break() to me.
That’s the beauty of it, for the most part it’s not even my argument. I pointed towards the devs themselves a few times at least, only got ‘cute’ replies though.
So it’s not like that I don’t want to talk to someone anymore (that would be childish?), it simply feels entirely pointless because I already wrote more than enough and I am under the distinct impression it’s not so much of a communication problem, but simply rejecting an unwelcome notion because.
…and then sea-lioning it: ‘but would you kindly explain again, because I’m not understanding…?’ Thanks but no thanks.
If Oxenfree is a non-game then KRZ is even worse of a non-game (and worse still because of its ‘pretentious’ quality; yes pretentious and non-game both are loaded terms in gaming, transcending the dictionary definition and linguistic facets), I don’t see how you can escape that: the same criticism that was leveled at Oxenfree hits KRZ just as bad, both can be accused of having ‘uninteresting choices’. Does KRZ have failure states and the other things that somebody, once, said are mandatory to be awarded the ‘game’ badge? Probably not.
As for Dear Esther, it is basically a ghost story, so its mechanics reflect that. Complaining that it lacks a jump button, or collectibles, or whatnot, misses the point, it’s not that type of game; and by restricting its interactivity options it increases the focus on the parts that the devs want the players to be focused on.
So many games are hampered because the devs felt the need to shoehorn in some ‘game’ in it, which turns out to be not very good and rather diminishes the value of the package (badly designed games, BTW, are the best fit for YouTubing, save yourself the hassle, I say).
I think we’re finally past moving it, and accepting that streamlining, removing, can be just as effective, and sometimes even more, than adding.
Something that has been known and accepted for a long time in other medias and arts.