For once I picked up a really fresh title: Dead Synchronicity came out last Friday. It was one of the Kickstarter projects I backed last year (yay me and my name in the credits). The demo was available during the pledging and it showed promise. Along the way the game was picked up by Daedalic Entertainment, so I ended up playing yet another Daedalic title. Once again it was a great experience, this time with a package aimed quite directly to my tastes, as the game tells a dark sci-fi tale with a mystery.
Right at the beginning I must pay attention to the age limit of this game. 12? Like, what? Not only is Dead Synchronity a bleak post-apocalyptic tale, it shows quite honestly what kind of savages people are when the organized world crumbles and epidemic runs among the crowd. It is not a pretty sight. And while the graphics of the game are not super realistic, there still is plenty of graphical violence in the game. This is not a game for kids.
On the bright side, it is not a game for kids. I will not post screenshots of the most gruesome scenes, not only because they might be disturbing, but also because I want people to experience the most powerful scenes while playing. Dead Synchronicity reminded me of I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream with its atmosphere and content, and I wasn’t the only one who thought so. IHNAIMS was also a pioneer with its multiple solution puzzles and options that affected the story – Dead Synchronicity unfortunately did not copy these parts. But while the story seems to be very linear, it doesn’t really feel very limiting.
The story has some cliches. I bet no one has ever head about a sci-fi thriller with an amnesiac protagonist, right? But in my opinion all is forgiven, as all the cliches fit the story, they are explained and they don’t really stick out or make the player groan. The whole post-apocalyptic theme has also been widely used in the recent years but thank your-deity-of-choice there are no zombies! I really liked the setting and the story itself, as much as you can “like” gruesome deaths and desperation.
The graphic style is quite unique, I enjoy it. It’s not that I consider it to be heart-wrenchingly beautiful, but it’s charming and works very well. I especially like how the women in the game are the same kind of squinty eyed blockheads as the guys (it’s not like it’s unheard-of to have graphics with very personalized males and then Disney princess females). The sound world is very nice also, the effects and the music at least. Voice acting is pretty standard (I played with English voices).
Gameplay is the regular point&click style with right mouse button look and left interact. Inventory puzzles, dialogue options etc. I was stuck in a couple of places and felt like I could’ve been give a bit better hint when trying out something close to the solution, but most of the time the game does indeed nudge the player into the right direction, and even when it doesn’t, the descriptions to the interactable objects are quite enjoyable. There’s definitely some humour in the game but a big part of it is pretty macabre, including the achievements, which are basically a collection of the player trying out weird and/or disgusting things with the inventory items.
The game’s length is quite suitable for an adventure (I clocked 8 hours but when I was stuck, I was quite hopelessly so – and that’s when I found most of my disturbing achievements). The mystery of what happened is really engaging and it is revealed in the end, but the story isn’t quite finished. I really hope we get a sequel for this, even though I feel that the game also works very well independently like this.