Bundles: Humble Bundle Weekly (Blendo Games) and Groupees Build a Bundle 5
I'm not sure why I was even tempted to play this game. I've heard comparisons to Dear Esther, which is a game I did not enjoy, and I'm not usually a fan of abstract, experimental games, but I still felt like giving this a shot. So it was a good thing it showed up in this week's Humble Bundle Weekly deal alongside a few other games I'd been eyeing!
This is a weird game to effectively reflect on, just like Dear Esther, because it's going to be a different experience for each person who plays it. These are games that leave the whole story part up the the player's interpretation, and in a way I find that super cool. I like that video games are a medium where things like that can be effectively expressed.
Thirty Flights of Loving isn't something I'd call an "enjoyable game," or even a "game." It's an interactive short story, with some interesting ideas and concepts. At only 10-15 minutes, don't expect to be spending hours in the world of Thirty Flights of Loving, but as a curiosity, it's certainly something interesting to see.
For what it's worth, this is a unique game. There are some cool sequences with jump cuts (first I've seen jump cuts in a video game), a science lesson about Bernoulli's principle, and some interesting developer commentary. For fans of abstract art games, it may be worth checking out, but this is not a game for everyone.
Also of note is the fact that Thirty Flights of Loving is a "sequel" to the game Gravity Bone, a freeware game with a similar style which I actually enjoyed more than Thirty Flights itself.
Well, I somehow chose two bizarre experimental games to play out of my bundle backlog. Dawning is another "short story" type game, but with a few more game-y elements. Dawning plays more like an adventure game, where you collect items scattered around the game's small world to open up new rooms and try to figure out what's going on, but it doesn't get more complex than that.
This is a game similar to things like Home or Eversion, where there's very little explanation for what's going on, and the narrative is left up to the player. It's interesting to explore the world, but it does get kind of boring due to a lack of conflict. You can't really "lose," but you can do poorly, and how well you do (as well as the items you collect) has an impact on the game's ending.
Personally, I felt empty when the game came to an abrupt end, wishing that there was just a bit more to go on in terms of narrative. Sometimes the "less is more" mentality can do a lot of good for a game, forcing the player to come up with their own answers for questions that the game presents. However, this game gives no coherent questions, so it's difficult to come up with any sort of coherent answers.
It's hard to say a lot more than that without spoiling what does make the experience interesting. There are a few cool parts to the game, but it's not really something you should be dying to play. For those that really do like abstract and experimental games, this might be worth checking out, but like Thirty Flights of Loving, I really can't recommend it to everyone.