Some say our fates are written; nothing can change the course of our lives. Everything we do is predetermined by some higher being who has a purpose and goal for us, however hopeful or tearful that journey might be. There is another train of thought that states that everything we do is not ordained or set in stone, that we are in control of our own destiny and life choices. We make who we become. But we now have another option – a place of work where you can change a person’s life by deleting a memory from their timeline. Welcome to the strange world of Will Die Alone.
Will Die Alone is a good example of a game that sits in on the Xbox Store for under a fiver; a collection of games that’s getting bigger by the day. Some of these games live up to nothing more than their value, but others are brilliant indie gems that are experimental and encourage gamers to take a chance on something original. Will Die Alone is one of those games.
You play an office worker who is employed by a corporation called Dewitt Corp whose main purpose in life is to delete memories from a person’s life in order for them to live a fuller existence. Over the course of many playthroughs, things can go very badly or quite well. Outside the offices of the corporation, there are many protests about what the business is doing, yet this isn’t quite as true as the image conveys.
You play Will Die Alone through a computer monitor on your work desk, left to action a couple of things at the start of each day; check the news bulletins for the headlines of the day – including the growing objection to the ethics of the company you work, and read the internal emails that give a narrative of the coming days, detailing what is happening in your job and the relationship shifts as the game progresses. The last one is the main purpose of the job – to select a client for that day.
When you select a client you are given a narrative of their life so far, detailed in written form. You are then given a number of ‘sliding door’ moments, ripped from the client’s life that have determined their fate or direction in life. You then work out which was the moment that needs to be deleted by selecting the graphic panel. Once selected you will make a decision about that person’s life; good or bad depending on your point of view. Once decided, you get some info about the client and what has happened to them. You end the day and then start a new one with a different client.
That’s basically Will Die Alone in a nutshell; a game which has a few different endings to discover in which each playthrough might take you ten minutes to an hour. It’s a very simple point-and-click game without much else to do apart from reading through and enjoying the narrative taking place around you. If you enjoy the story then you’re going to have a great time with this little experience, but if you don’t then I don’t think it’s the game for you.
Visually it employs a nicely drawn watercolor type graphic for its menus and memory frames. These art styles are beautifully created and add a touch of class to Will Die Alone that I like. Everything is pretty much static visual-wise and you are just stuck on the computer screen; an artistic decision that works well. The sound is basic at best.
You’ll have a good time with Will Die Alone, at least for a couple of hours. It has a great original premise, a wonderful core idea, and a neat narrative with some different endings to find. The gameplay is basic, to say the least, and you won’t be needing to use any of those cat-like reflexes you’ve honed in an experience like this. It’s all about the reading, enjoying the journey, and seeing how you can change someone’s life, for good or bad.
It’s a decent little addition to the cheap gaming experiments which are currently going on in the gaming world and Will Die Alone fits nicely in with the rest of the Xbox library.
Will Die Alone is on the Xbox Store