I found this to be a compelling experience. It’s difficult to put my finger on exactly why. On the face of it, it’s a relatively simple narrative of two people on a train who are returning from visiting the ‘city of the future’. They discuss aspects of this world, their own pasts and futures. The narrative flicks backward and forward between their heads. They are unable, though, through the course of this journey, to admit to one another their real feelings.
The text is extremely sparse – it looks like it has been translated from the Russian, but because the structure of it is simple, there are very few artifacts from the translation. A very occasional awkward phrasing maybe.
The linear narrative feel like it is on rails – haha. Go, me. But there are points of choice in the story which vary the ending. I’ve played through several times now, but I do go to the walkthrough because I want to see the ‘final’ ending which is revealed once you have got all the other endings. To be honest, the choices feel a little specious – I’m not entirely sure why varying between spikehead and attendant does alter the outcome. However, as the game progresses and we begin to uncover endings, we get more choices to make.
So far, if I just left it there, it would be a, you know, an ok little narrative – nothing to write home about. But. It’s the whole feel of the game – the text manages to be evocative while remaining sparse and tight; the sound effects; the animation; the colors and shapes; the defined boundaries of the game. It delivers an integrated user experience that, to me, was extremely pleasing. It mimics the narrative action, this game. It frames the reader into the action – reflecting the confines of the railway carriage, and these two protagonists constricted inside their own emotional boxes.
This is a very nice little thing. I’m not sure what the author has developed this in, but I like it. I wish the choices in the game related more strongly to the outcomes. 7/10.