This is one of the many game codes I’ve received thanks to my scammer (seriously – who does this game scamming crap? Rude!) and I have to say – I am actually amazingly thankful. I hadn’t heard of DISTRAINT – released in mid October 2015 – before, but now, it is easily one of the best games I’ve played this year. I mean, EASILY.
I’ll start off by saying that the music and sound effects in this game are fantastic. Everything goes off at just the right moment, and I can tell that all of the music was meticulously chosen for each scene to evoke just the appropriate emotion. And it works. I laughed, I jumped, I yelped, I smiled, I teared up and cried at this game. An entire range of emotions, made absolutely perfect by the perfect musical scoring.
DISTRAINT is created by Jesse Makonnen who also had a hand in Silence of the Sleep (a game I have yet to play, but I now plan to rectify that). It is a 2D psychological horror game, and uses the familiar WSAD+E method of play which I’m sure many of my readers are familiar with. The art is BEAUTIFUL and extremely well rendered. And as far as gameplay goes, it’s very straight forward – WSAD to move, E to take action, dialogue is presented at the top left corner of the screen, there are puzzles to solve (some are pretty tricky – I won’t lie!), and surprise scenes to discover.
You begin the game as Mr. Price, an ambitious man seeking to partner in a prestigious firm that apparently specializes in shall we say… “property possession”. Price’s ultimate task in order to become a partner at what I can only describe as this soul-sucking company, is to seize the property of three unfortunate people; this includes a kindly old widow named Mrs. Goodwin.
I’ll just go ahead and tell you that you are successful in your attempt to seize Mrs. Goodwin’s property. And that’s where things go south.
The game is marketed as psychological horror for an excellent reason – it delivers.
When I say that I yelped at this game, what I really mean is – I was sitting at my screen, yelling, “Oh, god, tell me he’s not asking for what I think he’s asking for.” Only to find out that – of course he is. Don’t worry – you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about when you play the game.
Or waking up to your dead parents chopping up the “elephant in the room” in your apartment’s kitchen.
It can get pretty gruesome.
BUT… the story. The STORY, you guys. It is so… touching. Yes, it is scary, it is horrific, and tragic, but it’s beautiful. And one of the most enjoyable stories I’ve ever experienced while playing a game. It entranced me and pulled me in to the point of wanting to know just how it ended. And despite that it only took me three hours to play from beginning to end… it was probably some of the most enjoyable three hours I’ve spent playing a game.
And when it ended… well. I’ll let you find out on your own (tip: bring tissues).
In summation, I don’t think I could even suggest improvements off the top of my head to this game. Sure, the artwork isn’t 3D, but it doesn’t have to be! It is absolutely perfect. The sounds aren’t some magnificent Hans Zimmer score, but it works and it has POWERFUL impact. The story isn’t going to win a Pulitzer, but it’s well written, and for me, held all the charm of any novel. And while I can’t say I’m going to replay it again and again and again… I can imagine I will most certainly be revisiting it down the line; much in the same way I would a favorite book.
And the best part? DISTRAINT can be yours for $4.99 on Steam. I mean, if you don’t pick it up at least on a sale day, I’m going to be extremely disappointed in you. *wags finger*