Publisher: Jesse Makkoken
Developer: Jesse Makkoken
Release Date: 11/13/2018
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I never played the first game, but Distraint 2 caught my eye due to the visuals and atmosphere it portrayed. You play as a man who is faced with severe depression from the guilt of evicting tenants from their living spaces. While this is his job he can’t take the guilt anymore and tries to commit suicide. You then play the split second that flashes through your head before doing so to regain hope and fight the darkness within. It’s a touching story and really shows people the process of grieving and depression and helps spread the message that mental health is a serious issue.
The game is played on a 2D plane and puzzle-solving. The puzzles are light and simple with the most complicated being a slider puzzle (which I despise) but overall the puzzles aren’t tough. There is a lot of finding this object and place it in the right spot, but the three chapters are short and it’s hard to get lost. You move from room to room just discovering what can be examined or talked to and then remembering where that piece goes. The game’s enjoyment is mostly in atmosphere and horror. Every so often a Creature of Fear will appear and you must hide until it passes. The sounds are eerie and the visuals are a treat.
There’s honestly not much game here. With each chapter there is a lot of dialogs to move the story forward, there’s a small green orb to save your progress, and then you just move from room to room to find all the objects to move on to the next chapter. At least the areas didn’t overstay their welcome and it was some labyrinthine complicated mess that some 2D horror games end up being. Each room was easy to remember and was distinct so once I found an object I had that “A-Ha!” moment of where it would go. It’s pretty satisfying and the game pushes you through at a steady clip not being too slow in any one spot.
The visuals are a mix of 8-bit pixelation, lots of grainy filters, eerie music and sounds, and a lot of camera tricks and overall just a foreboding sense of dread. The game pulls this off well and it was rather intense through most of the game will little reprieve in between. The problem is the game is about 2 hours long and there’s no gameplay really. I love these “walking simulators” that tell great stories, but rarely have they been done well and are memorable. If you have a short run time and there’s no game really you are totally relying on characters, story, and atmosphere and if those aren’t out of this world it won’t impress most people. While the game itself and message were fine, I didn’t care about the characters and pretty much forgot about the game after turning it off.