Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
Developer: Hollow Ponds
Release Date: 10/08/2020
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I Am Dead is a curious object hunting game about a ghost of a museum curator. That may sound boring on paper, but it’s quite charming and the mini-stories within are nice enough to keep the game moving along. You discover you have died, of what is unknown, and you can see through objects like a ghost or “slice” objects. This is a game all about a no-clip camera! It’s pretty cool at first as you can push the camera through an object to see what’s lying or hiding underneath. This is 100% a hidden object game with a larger budget. The goal of the game is to find a spirit that can take over quieting the island of Shimerston as the volcano is about to erupt. You slowly learn of the island legend and the 5 main characters you need to try and convince to do the job.
There are 5 objects to find on each level. You spin around an area with smaller areas to click on and then the object hunting begins. To know what you are hunting you click on characters with bubbles as you will recall their memory and the main object they are talking about in that memory is what you will hunt. The stories are the most charming part of the game. They are super short but well written and during these stories rotate some sort of weird globe to focus the picture into view. It’s pointless, but it’s something to do during all the talking. Once you know what object you need to find you will get a hint if that object is in the area you clicked on by the icon popping up on the screen. It was never too difficult to figure out what the items were, but the optional Grenkins objects are a lot tougher. This is a side puzzle that requires you to rotate a certain object like a shadow game so only part of the camera clips through and it looks like the icon. If the Grenkin object is what you clicked on Sparky, your canine companion will bark so you aren’t aimlessly rotating every object. There are additional tougher objects to hunt if you can find the secret list. These are tiny objects hidden inside others such as toys or bugs and you only get descriptive hints as to what they might be.
To be honest, the game shows you all it can do in the first ten minutes, and outside of hunting for the main items, I collected Grenkins for two levels and stopped. It was just too much to endlessly rotate and hunt objects forever as the main story was already asking for a lot. If you really love the gameplay mechanic here then it’s for you, but after so long I tired of it and wanted to see the story progress. There is literally nothing else to do in the game outside of object hunting as that is the sole mechanic. At least the areas are all varied and no single object was the same. You can finish the main story in about 4 hours, but if you collect everything you might be here for over 10. The visuals are quite charming with a flat pastel color and low poly objects. It has a unique look and each item is surprisingly detailed both inside and out. There are hundreds of objects to examine and it’s quite impressive that the developers went through all that effort. The voice acting is also quite good and it helps seal the aesthetics.
Overall, I Am Dead is a fun object hunting game for a few hours, but the story, in the end, doesn’t wow you or have a twist ending. It’s pretty predictable and the extra puzzles aren’t worth your time as there is no reward outside of just doing them. The visuals are charming and there is a lot of detail put into the objects you examine, but the entire game shows everything it can do in the first ten minutes and never evolves beyond that. If there was something more to this game outside of just clipping through objects for 4 hours until I find what I need I would stay longer, but this game is mostly for object hunting fanatics.