Dull Grey

by Provodnik Games

Episode 2 of Progress-program
Coming-of-age, Science Fiction, Everyday life

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A beautifully illustrated and orchestrated game with only one choice-or is it?, October 3, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes

I think I would give this 4.5 stars, but I am rounding up.

Provodnik Games made their debut last year with Railways of Love, a sci-fi game set in a future Russia where you were locked into one path which later opened.

This game is somewhat similar. It is set in the same future (both feature 'spikeheads', robot transmitters). Both games are illustrated, the former in 8-bit pixel art, and this one in gorgeous, smoothly animated black and white art.

The writing is good, with some English hiccups here and there. A son in a lonely outpost needs to enter the real world by choosing a job. There are two job choices, and the choice gets made over and over.

Near the end, you finally break free, but it's tricky to find. The final screen, interestingly enough, shows a breakdown of what final choices people made. Only 15% of people made my choice, which was a partially hidden ending, but apparently there's an even better ending that 1% of people found.

I'm not afraid of choice-deficient games (I loved last year's very linear Polish the Glass), but I feel a bit odd giving this 5 stars when it's more of a computerized book. However, the constrained interactivity does serve a purpose, and reflects the constrained options of the protagonist. On the other hand, this kind of constraint-as-story as been done many times before. On the other hand, just because something isn't new doesn't mean it's bad. So I go back and forth between 4 stars and 5, which is why I've given it a score of 4.5. I'd love to see more from Provodnik!

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