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Looking Up I See Only A Ceiling Review: Too Much Clicking And Not Enough Thinking

Platform reviewed: Nintendo Switch

Also on: Steam

Price: $2.99

Growing up, I loved point-and-click adventure games, with classics like King’s Quest VII and Day of the Tentacle among my favorites. What makes a point-and-click adventure great lies in its storytelling prowess and the intricacies of its puzzle-solving elements. Sadly, "Looking Up I See Only A Ceiling" fails to deliver those distinct aspects. Despite its brief duration, I felt railroaded through its progression rather than exploring it. Even though the game offers multiple endings, stumbling upon the best outcome felt more like a fluke than a product of clever problem-solving.

However, there are some engaging elements. The narrative is captivating, centered on a young woman grappling with anxiety over an impending exam. This stress takes on a physical form, leading her to encounter a series of unsettling experiences. She finds herself missing the keys to her house, stumbling upon unfamiliar rooms within her home, and noticing calendars with dates circled—presumably the days of her exam. Even more fascinating is a mysterious boy, who never reveals his name but is distinguished by his eerie smile, who appears to warn her about the loop she finds herself trapped in.

The issue lies in the overly simplistic nature of the gameplay. For example, my initial task was to find breakfast. Each new area of the house had highlighted areas, and clicking on them prompted the woman to dismiss each one with a response of "I don't need that right now." The point-and-click adventures I typically enjoy require solving a problem, critical thinking, and the combination of various items. Unfortunately, "Looking Up I See Only A Ceiling" failed to provide that level of complexity. Instead, it merely involved finding a single item before moving on with the story.

The house started to flood at some point, and I needed to find a way out. The front door was securely locked, and the keys were nowhere to be found (presumably, the door couldn’t be unlocked without the keys), so I escaped through the attic, the only option I had. Upon entering the attic, I was met with disturbing images and interesting narrative elements.

I won't spoil the ending, but getting the best ending highlighted a major flaw within the game. I stumbled upon the best ending by simply exploring and discovering an item needed to get the best result. The issue, though, was the complete lack of hints suggesting the necessity of this tool. While getting this tool allowed me to achieve the best possible outcome, I didn't truly earn that ending through skill or insight, making the entire experience feel flat.

Final Grade: C

I appreciate the ambition behind "Looking Up I See Only A Ceiling," aiming to delve into the human psyche and anxiety through the format of a point-and-click adventure game. The narrative is intriguing, yet the absence of challenging puzzles prevented it from being a memorable experience. Although it's a brief game with a modest price tag, I would gladly have spent more on a game that was a bit longer and required some critical thinking to beat the game. 

Review code provided by Flynn's Arcade.


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