Saturday, January 11, 2014

PC Spotlight #65: Continue?9876543210

Title: Continue?9876543210
Developer: Jason Oda
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, IOS Universal
Price: $9.99 (Steam, Humble), $3.99 (IOS)
The story behind Jason Oda's inspiration behind Continue?9876543210 is perhaps more fascinating and intriguing than the game itself. You can read about the full experience here, but it's a tale of drugs in the Peruvian jungle and getting lost in the deserts of New Mexico. Oda's experiences were the drive to create the strange surreal Continue.
Continue?9876543210 begins where most games end: literally at the end of your character's journey. The game is a chronicle of your character's journey through the limbo that lies between life in the game and permanent deletion. It's a randomized journey, with each playthrough choosing locations and a playable character from a pool, offering a new experience across multiple attempts. You'll travel across the pixel landscapes of Random Access Memory, conversing with other NPCs in this in-between state, and attempt to stay one step ahead of the Garbage Collectors, who will delete you forever.
It's an intriguing story and looks at a idea that hasn't really been explored in the medium before, but unfortunately Continue is a dichotomy. As a game, it's quite mediocre. The gameplay itself is simple and not very deep, as you move around each location, occasionally striking at enemies with your sword, or being whisked away to boss fights against the Garbage Collector. After a while the gameplay begins to feel repetitive. And while a game doesn't have to be fun to be enjoyable, gameplay-wise, Continue is just not that fun or enjoyable.
But on the other hand, as an experience, Continue is wonderfully unique. It's surreal and abstract, with a visual style that's reminiscent of Superbrother's elongated distorted figures but in 3D. The NPC dialogue has an absurd existential tone that is engaging in a weird way. The music is great and the locations themselves are moody and atmospheric and interesting to explore.
If you're looking for a deep compelling gameplay, you won't find it in Continue?9876543210. What you will find is an atmospheric surreal experience that in some ways makes up for the other flaws. It's not a perfect game by any means, but it is unique and intriguing. You can purchase Continue?9876543210 on Steam, Humble, and IOS.

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