Review: Gods Will Be Watching (Browser Edition)
Gods Will Be Watching is a minimalist point and click adventure created by Deconstructeam for GameJolt’s minimalism challenge. It got a great reception in the challenge and online, so now they have teamed up with Devolver to expand on the idea in a full release due later this Summer.
The full game will have six different scenarios each with their own moral choices to be made, and the same themes of despair and decision making. It will include an overarching ‘judgement system’ which collates the data based on your choices to give you an overall score – this is where the ‘Gods’ come into it. They promise improved AI, with your actions altering the behaviour and attitudes of the other characters. You will control the same characters, in the same setting, learning more about the world and the personalities in each scenario. It will go beyond the survival theme of the minigame, the concept here will be moral dilemmas in a variety of settings, including a hostage situation, virus testing and the alien world survival of the minigame.
Now that we’ve whet your appetite, let’s take a look at the original minigame.
It’s set entirely in one scene, with a very limited cast of characters. It’s essentially resource management, but it’s also creepy, atmospheric and really challenging – everything that I like.
You control Sergeant Burden as he attempts to get his crew through being stranded in an alien world. There is the constant threat of hunger, hypothermia, an alien virus, plus a terrorist organisation and native creatures. Most of all though you must defend your teams sanity. You have 40 days before any possible chance of rescue. In this time you have to repair your radio, maintain your resources, and not go crazy and wander out into the snowy wastes.
The graphics are simple but effective, and are much more than simple decoration, forming an essential part of the game – make sure everyone is still moving. The music is atmospheric and a bit creepy, but not too intrusive, and not essential to the game. You can be enjoyed without the audio but it certainly adds to the experience and is definitely recommended. In terms of sound effects all I hear is the constant crackling of a fire, and if I don’t hear it then I’d better go collect some wood. Some of the interactions can become repetitive, but once you have read all the information the game is more about managing your team effectively, so this detracts nothing.
With such a simple game I don’t want to give away too much detail – just go play it.
My best so far was 29 days, it was all going great (aside from one dead psychiatrist) then my whole team decided to reenact the Dyatlov Pass incident overnight and I killed myself in the morning. I’ve played through the game a few times and it certainly has replayability, although next time I will be killing and eating that dog. Hell, maybe I’ll just kill and eat them all, cooked in a barbecue made from the remains of the robot.
So in summary, great fun, really well put together, and a very steep learning curve. It’s very addictive and this is the sort of game that could get office workers fired (you have been warned). Now just to see whether the concept can successfully translate into a full standalone game.