Drizzlepath: Deja Vu (Review)

Drizzlepath: Deja Vu is the new champion of awful. The absolute worst game I’ve ever played in my entire life. It’s been a while since I reviewed anything that left me with nothing positive to say. It’s been so long that I forgot what that feels like. I’m confused. I’m sort of angry. I’m checking to make sure I didn’t have a psychotic episode and imagine the game. I pinched myself. I pinched others. I sawed off my pinky toe.. actually that one was just for fun. But really, this was such a waste of time. Not even that much time either. It takes well under an hour to finish Drizzlepath: Deja Vu, but it feels longer. It’s unreal how bad this game is. It’s so pretentious and unlikable in every way that you’d swear it’s deliberate. But, at least I can try to turn this into a positive and get my thoughts out on how, yes, Walking Simulators can be fantastic. You know, with actual effort.

I envy that ram, for it knows not the pain of playing Drizzlepath.

The insane thing is, this is the 4th game in a series. I’d not known that if my readers hadn’t alerted me. You’d think after four games, they’d know what they’re doing. The game starts with you being dropped in water, at which point, you walk in a relatively straight line until you have to double back a bit and turn a different direction. Then something kills you. Then you start at a different scene, and five minutes or so later you’re given one final thought on the meaning of life, and the game ends. There’s no action button and almost no interactive elements besides tiny visual gags that set-off the main hook of the game: “deep” philosophical commentary that comes across like you’re being stalked by a 14-year-old who actually knows dick shit but fancies themselves to be “worldly” and “enlightened.” On Switch, the commentary sounds like it’s coming through a microphone purchased at a dollar store, which tracks with everything else about the port. On other platforms, Drizzlepath: Deja Vu has one thing going for it: it’s nice looking. On Switch? It looks like a Wii game, and not even a good one. The audio and visuals are some of the worst I’ve seen. Here’s a pivotal scene from the Steam version:

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And as close as I could get to the same scene on Switch:

THAT is fucking embarrassing.

Now, normally I don’t give two squirts about presentation because gameplay is king, but with Drizzlepath: Deja Vu, that’s all it could potentially have going for it. There’s no gameplay! You walk down a path that’s walled-off. I managed to kill myself once by walking off a narrow walkway, but otherwise, there’s no puzzles or truly interactive elements. The full-of-itself commentary will play if you walk past certain moments. Like you might see a cabin and a shadowy figure standing in the door of it, and then that person slams the door before you get close. Early on, a character runs away from you. There’s animals, some of whom run from you, and others just sort of stand around. Sometimes a bird will fly overhead and the camera will auto-pan up to highlight them. Finally, a demon rushes you and the screen goes black before you begin a brief final sequence. But you don’t do anything with any of those things. You just observe and listen to the most droning commentary I’ve heard as IGC. Everything you need to know can be summed up by the fact that, instead of an action button, there’s a button that walks in a straight line for you. Yes, they actually added cruise control to a game!

The giant archer in the background has no connection to any other visuals or the glorified fortune-cookie commentary. Apparently Drizzlepath: Deja Vu is the 4th game in the series, and according to the Steam store page, it features nods to the previous three games in the franchise. Who knows if this or the other “WTF?” moments are those nods. They’re just random, confusing shit that show up and do nothing. What a truly unlikable game.

Ideally, a walking simulator makes the world compelling and interesting, or gives you some overarching point to it all. After all, people walk to GO PLACES and DO THINGS, so if you’re making a game that removes the entire reason we, as a species, walk, you’re just being lazy. It’s so unimaginative to just have you walk and “appreciate visuals” while hiding behind the pretense that it’s “okay, because it’s supposed to be relaxing.” Yea, but don’t we play games to relax in general? Isn’t that our escape from the real world, however you define it? If I want to veg out, I don’t just stare at a screen saver. I throw on Tetris, or I’ll even pop in Dead Cells for a run or two. But, you can make a breezy, low-thrills walking simulator WHILE STILL HAVING SHIT TO DO IN IT! Look at The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. It’s 99% walking, but at least you have destinations and stuff to do at those places. For those developers who make games like this, that really are just “hey, look at this stuff”,  be honest: you intended to do more and just can’t be bothered. It’s okay. HEY, listen.. it’s okay. Shhhhhh. I’m lazy too.

This burger embryo basically ignores your existence. At one point, there was a deer (I think it was a deer) that ran away from me, which is the closest any of the wildlife comes to actually interacting with you.

A great walking simulator is not just a nature hike that’s occasionally (in the case of DP-DV, rarely) interrupted by weird things photo-bombing the scenery. You’re trying to create the illusion of freedom, so as to immerse the person in the world you’ve created. If you don’t have immersion, you don’t have shit. But, right at the start of Drizzlepath: Deja Vu, the illusion is broken when you encounter a look-out tower with an open door, but you can’t actually go up inside it because there’s a platform seven inches off the ground that you can’t step up on. I tried, and I tried, and I tried. I kept checking and rechecking the control menu to make sure I didn’t miss a jump or action button. I didn’t. Nope, it’s just something you can’t enter. This is it:

Now, being the thorough person I am, I checked to make sure I understood how walking works, just in case I’ve been wrong all these years. Experts agreed with me that, indeed, it involves lifting one leg and moving it forward before planting the foot attached to the bottom of the leg somewhere in front of you, so as to create a forward motion before lifting-up the other leg and also moving it forward, and the process repeats from there. This is how walking works, and it’s dependent on picking your feet up and off the ground. If you don’t pick your feet up, that’s a different thing entirely, with a completely different name. Sometimes it’s called shuffling your feet. Now, in this WALKING SIMULATOR, you are apparently not moving your legs up off the ground, because I could not enter this tower. The gate for the tower is a platform that’s barely elevated above the surface you’re standing on. So, what is being simulated in Drizzlepath: Deja Vu? Because it’s sure as hell not walking!

I want to do a satire of this game where I question how many tampons you’d need to clean up the blood rain. By the way, while this seems like it might be a cool visual, on Switch? Yea, not so much. Click here to see what it looked like when I played it. Warning: cringe-inducing deep commentary about the rat race included.

With no point, no action, and not even gorgeous visuals in the port I played, the only thing a “game” like this could have going for it is immersion. But that tower and that tiny step that you can’t take immediately took a torch to any potential I had to be immersed. From there out, it was just walking forward, occasionally being confused when random shit like miniature UFO balls show up, and then being left dumbstruck by the philosophical ramblings that are so arrogant and pretentious that they made me angry. The Nintendo store page says “you’ll take the role of a nameless man climbing towards a mountaintop in search of answers. Witness events as you explore, each gradually adding to the larger existential narrative..”

Here’s some examples of this, and you might want to set some easy listening in the background to soften your soul in preparation to receive this deep wisdom. Ready? Here we go..

We may choose to see the world in black and white. Yet, it is anything but!

Mind. Blown! You’re so right!

All live and die in cages of our own design!

That is some deep thinking, man! You must have access to the GOOD weed to put that so elegantly!

They say up to 60% of the human body is composed of water. Perhaps this is what draws us so frequently in its direction!

Dude…………….. DUDE! Duuuuude. Dude.

This has been Deep Thoughts with Jack Handey!

This whole thing is supposed to be “surreal or ominous” according to the Switch store page. It really just comes across like a student film by the kid in the class everyone else hopes they don’t get partnered with.

Actually, those are just the opening parts of these long-winded diatribes that are the most completely meaningless philosophical musings I’ve heard in any game. There’s no deeper meaning to be gleamed from this crap. It’s the most base and shallow philosophy. Someone who thinks they’re a free-thinker, man, but really just regurgitates stuff they’ve heard that they know is wise, even if they don’t totally understand it. With no context and little, if any, over-arching tie to the actual in-game happenings, it really just comes across as someone who thinks they’re smarter than you talking down to you.

In reality, Drizzlepath: Deja Vu completely betrays the concept that the game is about exploring existentialism. I’m going to guess they don’t even get what that should be about. If the developer understood it at all, the game would challenge cookie-cutter philosophy instead of just blankly stating it. Instead of the commentary reminding people the world isn’t black and white, existentialism would flip the script. Any well-adjusted adult knows the world is shades of grey, and existentialism would force you to say “am I totally sure about that. Oh God, WHAT IF I’M WRONG?” It’s about reflection and questioning, not reinforcing. But, who needs that shit? Just spew puddle-deep thoughts that make you think you sound smart, package it in the most lazy game imaginable, and put it on everyone else to find meaning in a product you couldn’t even be bothered to create meaning for. The only thing deep about Drizzlepath: Deja Vu is how full of shit it is.

Drizzlepath: Deja Vu was developed by Tonguç Bodur
Point of Sale: Nintendo Switch, Steam, PlayStation 4/5, Xbox

$5.59 (normally $6.99) can spit deeper than this is the making of this review.

 

About Indie Gamer Chick
Indie game reviews and editorials.

One Response to Drizzlepath: Deja Vu (Review)

  1. Pingback: Shadow of the Colossus: Slaying the Test of Time | Indie Gamer Chick

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