Lifts are strange, aren’t they? You start in one location, enter a small box where you press a few buttons. There is a slight turning of the stomach, a feeling of strangeness, and then the door opens and you find yourself somewhere completely different. Apart from the even weirder glass elevators, you never actually know how you get from one place to another. They are like science-fiction teleporters.
In Almost My Floor the lift in the lead protagonist’s apartment block acts as a portal to another dimension at times, or a prison for the person’s sanity. Going up?
Almost My Floor is a very decent point-and-click adventure with a nice story and some good gaming dynamics. You start the game playing as a man called Alex; a guy in his early thirties who is being interrogated by the police. He starts to tell his story just as the game enters flashback. He lives in an apartment block, previously with his girlfriend and his dog. Yet now he is alone and as he enters the block he keeps being transported into a monster dimension, one full of creatures and horrors. Your job – as Alex – is to try and get out of this mess and find out what is going on. Without ruining and spoiling, about halfway through the game, you then get to play as a private detective who is investigating the missing girlfriend of Alex; it’s here where Almost My Floor is twisted, giving a different vision and point of view.
The narrative found here is a good one with intriguing characters and a nice mystery to unravel; something which includes many different subplots and story beats. You can also choose to play through Alex’s life with good or bad vibes; he even has a devil and angel that appear on his shoulders to whisper advice or applaud him for a moral decision. It’s a clever touch and the writing is witty at times and certainly well thought out.
The gameplay consists of pretty much what you would expect from a narrative point-and-click adventure. You control your character through a 2D world which is presented as a slice of the apartment block. Pressing a button highlights all the bits you can interact with, talk to and examine. You can store items in your inventory and use them when the right puzzle needs solving.
There are some neat puzzling mini-games to be found throughout the levels and whilst these won’t ever break your brain, they are a welcome distraction. I’ll admit though, I did find the control system – especially in terms of interacting with something – to struggle in the intuitive stakes, coming across as a tad annoying. You’ll get used to it, but the system could possibly do with some work.
There are moments in Almost My Floor in which you will have to enter a quick time event and whilst this isn’t about hitting buttons on the screen, you will need to nail a green area in a quick-moving bar. This is fine and works well enough, but it’s not very inspiring, and to be honest, I could have done without taking it in when put alongside the experience as a whole.
Visually the game employs a cartoon world in its design; it is effective and pleasing to the eye. I love the character design, the colours on display, and the way the game switches between different levels of reality. The little cutscenes that occasionally play out are clever and unique with their use of comic book style framing and layout. The soundtrack is very atmospheric too – there is some great use of jump noises in the right moments and eerie music in the scary sequences.
Almost My Floor is a very good point-and-click adventure that is inventive with its narrative, comes with great use of cartoon visuals and delivers a nice bit of dual storytelling. The reveals and story beats will keep you interested all the way through the three or four hour running time and you should well enjoy the conclusions to the narrative and what happens to all the characters. I personally think the use of mini-games as a QTE feels a bit bland though and some of the control systems are just a bit too annoying.
But you cannot argue with the price of Almost My Floor and there is certainly more value for money here than in many other games you could pick up.
Almost My Floor is available from the Xbox Store