There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension (Switch Review)

Apparently “game player fucks with game developer” is now a game genre unto itself. And I don’t mean “play a game for a minute and leave a one-star review on Steam” which can be fun if you’re a complete scoundrel. No, I mean “meta games” where a narrator matches wits with you, though in the self-loathing world of Indieland where game developers perpetually suffer from imposter syndrome, it’s telling the narrator is always the most witless mother fucker in the world. There’s a few routes this can go: completely unlikable pretension (see The Beginner’s Guide), or I did one a few years ago called Dude, Stop that was fine to play (it won my Seal of Approval on gameplay merit alone). I mean, it wasn’t funny. If you’re aiming for comedy, it seems like “be funny” should be a given. And those are just the ones I played. Again, this is now a genre! If you’re not up for a sports game, a shooter, or a puzzler, you can now accumulate a library of titles in the Fear of Failure category.

Spoiler: there actually is a game here.

Among those titles is recent Switch release There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension, a paid remake of a free-to-play PC game. Oh hey, speaking of new genres, let’s call this one the Kicking One’s Self genre, because it’s trendy recently to re-release formerly free games at much higher prices than nothing from game developers who never expected their free-to-play quirk release to get downloaded more times than Windows Update. See also Doki Doki Literature Club. But hell, I’m willing to pay money for a game that entertained me, and There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension truly inspired. At least to start. At first, it feels kind of like an Escape Room game. You’re stuck on the title screen and trying to start the game that the developer most certainly doesn’t want you to see or play. The dialog is genuinely funny, as are the increasingly comical lengths the developer goes towards preventing the game from starting. I loved it! I mean, I wondered how long they could possibly stretch having a title screen be an entire game. The answer is “about thirty minutes, maybe”, depending on how much you’re able to sniff-out the moon logic of solving the puzzles. Because, after the first of six “chapters” the game goes completely off-the-rails, switches genres entirely, THEN SWITCHES AGAIN, and it’s um…..

Weird.

I thought Kennedy died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound?!

I don’t want to spoil it, because my recommendation is mostly based on the fact that I was genuinely caught off-guard several times, and the laughs never stop coming over the handful of hours you get. I’ll note that There Is No Game was better served when the focus is you versus the developer. When it dips its toes in commentary/satire of other gaming tropes like ad-supported content or pay-to-win mechanics, the laughs slow to a trickle, because these are just variations of the same jokes and meta humor that comedy games have been leaning on for a decade now. “Isn’t it funny how games charge money for stuff you used to get for free?” Yea, it’s goddamned fucking hilarious. My sides split like the sticks of a double popcicle every time DLC for anything is announced. While There is No Game: Wrong Dimension never completely craters out, you get a lovely view of the crater that lasts long enough that I spent as much time worrying that There Is No Game was in danger of bottoming-out at any moment than I did enjoying the farce. And really, some of the solutions to puzzles are too abstract. Is it fun? Yes. Did it lose the plot? Somewhat. Do I recommend it? Yes, very much. Rare is the game that is fun AND funny from start to finish, even if the humor is sometimes a fruit so low-hanging it could be misclassified as a vegetable.

There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension was developed by Draw Me A Pixel
Point of Sale: Nintendo Switch, Steam

$12.99 noted the game’s store page spoiled what I wasn’t willing to spoil.. grumble.. in the making of this review.

There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension is Chick-Approved and ranked on the Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard.

About Indie Gamer Chick
Indie game reviews and editorials.

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