Creatures Such As We

by Lynnea Glasser profile

Science Fiction

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- SchnickelFritz (TX), August 20, 2021

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Long choice based game about escapism, choice, and the moon, March 26, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 2 hours

I've often pondered on my reasons for reading novels, playing IF, reading stories online, etc. I've talked to my family about it, and my answers to why we escape and whether it is good changes fairly often. I also was oncea professional video game developer.

This game, then, drew me in completely. This is a choice-based game about someone who is trying to understand escapism, its role in life, its benefits and drawbacks, the meaning of art, etc.

It was fun to play the character as myself, giving the answers and reactions I would. I was happy with my ending.

It was funny to play this game after Ultra Business Tycoon III,and reading online debates over whether that game is winnable, and what it would mean if it is not winnable. I don't necessarily recommend playing that game first (Porpentine has better games, like Howling Dogs), but it was interesting.

Lynnea Glasser tends to make very good games. I didn't like Tenth Plague on philosophical grounds, but Coloratura was fantastic.

This game contains several instances of strong profanity near the beginning.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Space Love, March 20, 2021
by Fenix (CA)

tldr: An enjoyable IF despite a bit of rail-roading.

I love space and seeing this setting made me think of something that could quite actually happen in the near future. It was very enjoyable. Playing as someone in the service industry, and all the ups and downs that go with it, resonated with me. My favorite aspect of the game, however, was the game within a game. Following along with the story in a story was really enjoyable and, if it weren't a Choice of Games game, I would definitely go back and tool around some more.

My least favorite part of the game was when I was given a choice that was no choice. There were a couple, really, but the second time the lack of choice felt more like it was played for laughs. The first time really got under my skin, however: (Spoiler - click to show)When asked how competent the protagonist is in a rather stressful situation, I decided to go with the more optimistic route. I decided that I was prepared to deal with the situation at hand. However, the narrative second-guessed me and then grayed out that option. As there were other options similar to my initial choice, again I chose to see the protagonist as more on the competent side. Again the game second-guessed me. I did this until there was only one option left, the option that the game wanted for me and not the option that I wanted. It was very frustrating to say the least.

IF games already tend to be linear (some more than others) and taking away what little player agency I thought I had left a bitter taste in my mind. I was able to keep playing, but that keeps me from wanting to go back and play a second time to explore other avenues.

I'm not sure how intentional this was as the game in the game seemed to shadow another game: (Spoiler - click to show)The Mass Effect Trilogy, where the ending didn't seem to take into any serious account what the players had done throughout the game.

All in all, I would recommend playing through this game at least once.

- everlastingwonder (Massachusetts), March 19, 2021

- kekekeKaj, March 14, 2021

- mondegreen, February 11, 2021

- RhysRivers, February 2, 2021

- Zape, January 30, 2021

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Better in retrospect, January 30, 2021

I first played Creatures Such As We a few years ago, and I remember that I didn't think much of it back then. But, after playing it more recently, I've come to appreciate it a lot more.

Creatures Such As We is a metafictional (am I using that term correctly?) story about video games that functions as one of the video games it discusses. On one level, you play as a tour guide on the moon, guiding a group of visiting game developers through various touristy activities. On the other level, your character is playing a game-within-a-game, which happens to be developed by the same group of aforementioned game developers. This game-within-a-game had a highly controversial "bad" ending, almost akin to the original ending of Mass Effect 3 (the author denies it as an influence). The player character suddenly has the opportunity to ask the game developers about the ending. Of course, being a Choice of Game, there is romance here: you can pursue a romantic relationship or friendship with one of the game developers, and you might stay in contact even after they leave. There is a bit of stage magic here; the dramatic life-and-death moments always happen to your chosen romance option. The characters themselves are all well-realized and unique, but they feel sort of like tokens, both demographically and for their particular viewpoints.

All of this is all used as a backdrop for a series of philosophical conversations. The author leads us through "meta" discussions like the role of the author vs the viewer, representation in media, and escapism, and more general philosophical discussions on death and life and stuff. I think this worked better for me now than when I first played this because I have more experience with both making and playing interactive fiction, and I can relate to the issues being discussed more. It felt interesting and engaging in a way that "philosophical discussions in video games" usually don't for me.

Then there's the theme of corporate malfeasance. Your employer cares more about good appearances than the well-being of its employees or the safety of its customers. The visitors to the moon base are regularly put into life-threatening situations with little backup or real information. You are overworked without much free time, and it's clear that there are people even worse off. Then there is a subplot where one of the tourists has a flu-like illness that is covered up; it's obvious that this was made in pre-covid times. At the same time, an EA-like giant gaming corporation is seeking to acquire the game developers, who are somewhat ambivalent about the deal (I don't know if you-as-the-tour-guide can change the outcome here).

Overall, I feel like the setting, characters, game-within-a-game, and philosophical discussions all meshed together really well. I appreciated the meta moments where it felt like the game was critiquing itself.

- TheBoxThinker, January 18, 2021

- mifga (Brooklyn, NY), October 15, 2020

- quackoquack, June 10, 2020

- Saturnara, March 19, 2020

- antperson, February 27, 2020

- Marc-André Goyette, December 24, 2019

- Ry (Philippines), September 30, 2019

- lunaterra (Atlanta, GA, USA), May 10, 2019

- Max Crow (United States), February 13, 2019

- Joey Jones (UK), September 15, 2018

- Jacoder23, September 13, 2018

- fooberticus, August 13, 2018

- Aimski (Michigan), May 6, 2018

- Stas, April 2, 2018

- Sobol (Russia), January 5, 2018

- Julia Myer (USA), August 29, 2017

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