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A helper robot navigates a disaster-filled future, October 21, 2020
They Will Not Return is a game that follows a helper robot in a post-apocalyptic setting, with choice-based interaction and some surprising shifts in its narrative flow.
The first half of the story offers a piercing look into how the peace and routine of serving others morphs into a sense of desolation as time passes, entropy sets in, and it becomes increasingly clear that things will never return to how they were before. The decision to have the reader revisit and explore the same location before and after the disaster is powerful, especially when presented through the perspective of a helper robot who isnít equipped to deal with these eventualities.
The second half of the game shifts to a more standard adventure quest that navigates through a few scenes offering some light puzzles and tidbits of information about the fate that befell the world, with a final set of choices that determine the ending. It's unfortunately a bit at odds with the first half of the story, due to the sudden shift in tone and slightly formulaic quality.
I'd rate the first half the game higher than the second, but overall it was still an enjoyable exploration on the passage of time.