Out of Scope

by Drew Castalia

Political romance

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Number of Reviews: 4
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
War/romance/thriller game where all choices are seen through a scope, November 22, 2023
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 2 hours

I think the best descriptors for this game might be ‘incestbait’ and '‘unusual UI’.

Let’s talk about UI first. The idea is that you are ‘aiming’ at the screen, with a literal scope in the title page and elsewhere just dragging your aim around. While moving around the page you find text you can click on. So it’s choice based, but with work to discover the choices.

The controls are opposite from what I expected. It all clicked when I realized that instead of panning around the page I was moving the camera.

This is a very long game, and took me longer than 2 hours to complete. Parts of it were difficult; a couple of times I could have sworn the text needed to progress just wasn’t there, so I exited out completely and ‘Resume’ and it worked. But looking back, I likely just had trouble finding the right link. I got very stuck at one point looking for my father, due to the many places possible to look.

The story is one of was and love. You play as two siblings who have had a love/hate/LOVE relationship their whole life. While there is no history of romantic intimacy between you two, everything in the game drips with its possibility, so much that the entire theme of the game seems to be ‘what if two siblings were almost-lovers and sublimated that tension into hate’.

The backdrop is like a modern Gone With the Wind or War and Peace, where a violent war is raging and you are part of a privileged family, the children of an admiral. The countries involved seem to be fictional, but evoke modern tropes: an aggressor country feeding misinformation to others to justify invading a smaller country; corruption at the highest levels, etc.

The game opens with a violent conflict between the two protagonists, and I never really understood the justification for that. Even seeing the messages that spurred the conflict, I don’t understand why the fight happened.

In any case, this really does have the overall feel of the grand war novels I mentioned before, with similar musings on changes in life. The UI was an interesting concept but by the end it started to wear thin. It may be because I was using a trackpad and playing on desktop; I had to click and drag a lot.

There definitely is strong craftmanship in evidence; this is the kind of game where I personally didn’t love it but I’d definitely hire the creator for game work if I ran a studio. So the pros of this game are mostly in the areas of the author’s skill, and the cons are mostly in my personal taste.

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