Best described as a first person afterlife game, [i]This Strange Realm Of Mine[/i] feels discomforting. The sound and art, blending video game and poetry. It’s all wonderfully invasive upon the senses, and I suppose that was the artistic intent of the game.
Wait, afterlife simulator? What the heck?
That’s right. The game begins with you making a character, and then being told you died. How did you die? Not important. What is important is that you find yourself in Limbo. Not the biblical one, or at least not as far as I could tell, but one where your spirit comes as a crossroads. Inside Limbo, you’ll find a guide who leads you through several adventures. Completing each one leads you back to Limbo.
Ok, that’s weird. But let’s say I’m interested, now what?
Well good question. This is a linear game, that has you performing acts in first person. And while you’ll utilize a gun in a lot of the game there is quite a bit of variety apart from shooting things. And all of it is wrapped in poetry and metaphors. It’s quirky but it lacks any of the ‘high art’ that sometime plagues these games. Often, philosophical indie games tend to focus on the art and less on the game. TSROM feels like a good balance point between the two.
Well if it’s a game, tell me about the gamey parts.
The game is made on Unity3d and that’s neither to it’s benefit or detriment. I felt the physics were very “default” but there were enough restrictions on movement I couldn’t initiate common Unity glitches. The graphics are fine, with a weird “realistic” lighting but assets are low resolution assets. I can’t say it’s good, but I can say it works well for this game.
Sound is also well done, with music being a highlight. Oh and the game parts, of which I won’t spoil, all marry with the philosophical, social or mental issues in a really great way. There’s one level based around social anxiety and it was perfect. The levels themselves are simple and short, meaning the game doesn’t overstay itself.
Ok so I think I get it, but is it good?
Subjective question, but if I had to give a short answer I’d say Yes. However, I’d note that lots of these games aren’t for everyone. There is a quantity of fun, but there is lots of thought provoking stuff and as someone who isn’t inclined to enjoy poetry there is a LOT of it here.
I’d recommend the game to anyone wanting something different, something that takes an honest view of the soul, mortality, and mental conditions,