I love video games, but because in parts i’m not very good at them and also because of how costly systems and games can be….I very rarely play games.
So when a PC game that catches my interest comes out I’ll do my best to buy it.
I’ve found this game interesting ever since its demo release and it did to a high extent live up to what I hoped it to be while in some regards feeling somewhat boxed in.
The game follows an eight year old girl named Misfortune, she comes from a bad household that you learn more about as you go throughout the game and interact with photos and objects in the world around Misfortune. The other characters of the game are the mysterious voice/narrator who talks to Misfortune throughout the game and the mysterious Benji the fox, a fox that has been stalking around the girl’s home recently sometimes watching her.
At the start of the game the narrator tells you the player that this girl will die, he won’t divulge how or when, but that she in fact will die. He tells Misfortune that he wants to play a game with her, she follows a path and it will lead to Eternal Happiness. As a player…It’s obvious the voice is something will ill intentions or obviously knows more than he leads on, but you have little choice for most of the game but to follow him.
A big part of the game is that you can’t technically lose. You make choices and allegedly those choices follow cause and effect. Through the game at several points Mr. Voice ask Misfortune and maybe more so the player to honestly answer questions. The questions are basic and personal like “are you scared of dying?” “do you feel loved?” “Have you ever lied to a friend?” etc.
I answered the questions honestly….well except when he asked if I trust him then I lied and said that I do. As far as I can gather how you answer the questions has no genuine impact on the game or the outcome.
In the beginning of the game when running through the hall of her home Misfortune knocks over a vase and breaks it, the player has the option to fix the vase or leave it, I chose to leave it because I’m a lazy bastard. Far later on in the game when running through the hall again, she trips over the broken remains of the vase.
At one point early on you have the option to either set a dog free from a tree it’s tied to or just play with the dog, I chose play with the dog since setting it free to possibly run into the road and get hit by a car seemed like a bad idea….This lead to throwing a ball and a tree branch falling on the dog and killing it. The dog far later appears in the death realm. I feel like either way the dog was going to die so my choice maybe didn’t matter.
Which is a feeling a lot of the game ended up giving me; when you are in the sewers and outside the hamster strip club there’s a masked hamster with a knife fighting with another hamster, you can intervene and stop them or just watch passively and let the fight proceed. I chose to stop the fight which consisted of Misfortune picking them up and making them kiss then setting both hamsters down to which they run off. a minute later she finds an elderly hamster we are told was robbed by the masked hamster and we are a criminal because we helped the masked one get away…..But he would have gotten away if we did nothing and just let him most probably stab that other hamster. So either way he would have escaped as far as I can tell.
Two things that do feel like they could change the course of the game are your interactions with Benji and the Narrator.
The Narrator from the get go vehemently hates the fox, he spends the game trying to dissuade Misfortune from liking Benji, talking about him and how much she wants to date him. You are given choices throughout the game to distance yourself from Benji, an option to spray him with a supposed anti fox spray, options to listen to Mr. Voice and ignore Benji or see him as the real villain of the story, an option to return to Mr. Voice instead of following Benji into the bunker of the cabin he lives in.
Through the game the deeper in you get the more options you get to become openly wary of Mr. Voice especially once you find Benji’s diary revealing that Mr. Voice is actually a parasitic monster from another realm that leeches onto the mortal realm and feeds on children. Through the game you see ghost children and missing children posters, crudely drawn signs warning parents to hide their children and keep them safe, you upon finding Benji’s diary find out that Mr. Voice is the monster and the game he’s playing with Misfortune is the same sort of game he played with these other children which always ends with him killing and eating them. Benji is a selected protector sent to the human realm to collect the souls of the children and take them to a safe haven.
The game at least in a surface level seems to give you the choice to maybe return to the Narrator/monster’s side instead of following Benji, but again I’m not sure if that’s a real choice or not.
Now major SPOILER
But once Benji saves you from Mr. Voice Misfortune goes outside to find her mother talking to a cop and crying, in the road is Misfortune’s corpse covered by a white sheet. In the beginning of the game Misfortune has to cross the road to begin the game, later one in the game the monster tells her that he belongs to her because she crossed over, essentially signing herself as his possession which makes sense when you realize she died the moment the game started which is also why throughout the game not a single person she attempts to interact with looks at her or responds to her, they look past her and through her as if she doesn’t exist at all.
There is a lot of credit I give to the game in the fact that you play as the ghost of an 8 year old girl and just like your first viewing of the Sixth Sense you really don’t know it. You just chalk it up to horror game logic, adults ignoring a small child seems normal, teenagers ignoring her is even more normal. You never question why adults don’t respond to her or look at her, why she passes through the environments gaining little to no attention from those around her making the fact she died in the beginning of the game more of a surprise.
I like in the game nearly everybody you see is wearing a mask, the masks are sold as fake happiness for those times you’re miserable and can’t force a smile. It reminds me a lot of We Happy Few where people are drugged and made up to look happy even when they’re miserable. In this game as well people hide their misery behind a mask and it’s unsettling.
I also fucked up a few times by accidentally having her do drugs, but considering she was dead the entire time I don’t feel quite as terribly about those moments. I will admit when finding out she’s been dead the entire time I did cry just the slightest bit since I was hoping she wouldn’t die at all since we’d never seen her die, Misfortune is a character you can grow attached to and I felt bad for her especially considering her home life.
Things you find out through the game consist of: her parents married because her mom got pregnant, her mom named her Misfortune because her existence is a Misfortune and if it was legal her mom would have gotten an abortion instead, you learn that Misfortune’s mom is an alcoholic who has sex with men in alley’s for money and/or drugs, you learn that Misfortune’s dad makes meth in their basement, and that the relationship between her parents is really comprised of depression, spousal abuse, and money. You also learn her mom’s shown her tits to people to get things she wants.
There’s also a feature throughout the game where Misfortune can throw glitter on certain hightlighted objects….At the end of the game there’s a tree with crystals that you click on, it tallies up how many of the objects you chose to glitter up and make happy, I got all but 4….I don’t know if it really makes a difference or not at the end of the day.
Which I think that’s my biggest issue with the game is that SO many of the game play features feel like they don’t have a long lasting impact, maybe I’ll be shown differently once more people have played through the game, but from my run of it and from what I can gather just by thinking over the game itself…I don’t think your choices make THAT big of a difference to the game play or to the ending itself.