Platform reviewed: Steam
The game [I] Doesn't Exist is trippy and unique. Honestly, calling it a game feels strange. It is a text-based adventure game where players must type words to solve puzzles - similar to the original King's Quest. However, it offers more of an experience than just an adventure game. It presents a cool experience that I haven't encountered before.
I won't discuss the story much - like any good art, you need to experience it for yourself, and like any good art, it will leave an impression on you, one that you’ll want to talk to your friends and family about. However, I will say that the game begins like a classic text adventure game, even incorporating the detail of typing "Start" to initiate the game.
Only a little is explained initially, contributing to the whole premise and experience. You are instructed to type in certain phrases like “walk to mushroom” and “pick up key” - ignoring these commands and going “off script” will cause the AI to scold you and request that you simply comply. You are sarcastically praised for your competence when you input the correct commands.
After completing the "tutorial," you are transported to a different world - unlike the black and white tutorial, this new area brims with vibrant and inviting colors. This new area has the feel of a classic text-based adventure-style game. Like similar games, you must solve puzzles - primarily by fetching certain items to obtain the key and leave the area. If you find yourself stuck, the friendly mushroom can provide hints based on the items you inquire about.
Once you complete all the puzzles and obtain the key to open the door, the game takes a turn. I won't delve too deep into this because, as I mentioned, you need to experience it for yourself, and I don't want to spoil it for those who intend to play it. However, this is where it transitions from a game to an experience. You will still need to solve some puzzles, but these feel different.
But during this time, when you're asked questions, experiment with your responses. I was surprised by the answers I received when I typed in certain phrases. One of the cool aspects of the game is that, after you quit, you can submit the prompts you typed that didn't receive answers to the developers so that they can consider incorporating them in the future.
There are moments in the game where it transitions from side-scrolling to 3D. Additionally, some moments break the 4th wall. And, there is a moment that will leave you questioning, "What just happened?" It is important to note that there is more to the game after this moment. Despite being short, lasting about two hours, it provides a perfect amount of time for this type of game.
As suggested in the boot-up screen, you should wear headphones playing [I] Doesn’t Exist; the audio is fantastic and adds to the atmosphere the devs create in the game.
Final Grade: A
Play [I] Doesn't Exist if you crave something different and love narrative games that make you think. After playing it, you'll be compelled to talk to others about the game. This is a sign of good art - and [I] Doesn't Exist is a fantastic piece of art.
Review code provided by UberStrategist PR Team