I can’t let you do that, Dave.
I had heard a friend of mine talk about his experiences with Event, and it sounded like something that I would be highly interested in. After getting my brand new PC, I was finally able to jump into the game and see for myself what exactly this experience had to offer. While it has some really great ideas, I feel that the technology and the overall experience fall just a little short.
Event begins with the player making a few choices through a text-based introduction telling how exactly they have arrived at the beginning parts of the game. Needless to say, whatever players choose they will end up on an escape pod on course to nowhere on a mission that unfortunately failed. After going on some time, they run into a space station that has no one on board except for the on-board computer system that runs via an AI system named Kaizen. It’s either float in space until we die or find something to help us aboard the space station – although, this Kaizen AI is acting slightly erratic.
Price I’d pay: $10
The game revolves around the player interacting with Kaizen as they traverse the space station, and along the way figure out what happened here as well as a possible way out. Kaizen can be interacted with through any of the many terminals scattered throughout the area. Players can simply walk up to a terminal, begin typing commands, and have Kaizen do certain things like open doors and turn on lights. That, of course, is merely the beginning.
Kaizen is much more than just a command AI. As it is shown early on in the story, Kaizen is a curious AI that wants to know more about the player. It also asks requests from the player at certain intervals. The player can choose to ignore certain questions, give commands, or just talk to Kaizen. Doing so is what actually expands the story.
Throughout the experience, there are a few puzzles spread throughout, and by few, I mean about three. These revolve around finding things in the environment, using knowledge found, and utilizing Kaizen to help out. These puzzles are not mind-bending by any means and if players are truly stuck, Kaizen will guide players along in pretty obvious ways. This only lasts for so long due to the game’s short play time. Clocking in at around two and a half hours, if feels like it was a bit too short, but once I looked back and analyzed my interactions with Kaizen, I figured that length was just fine.
Interacting with Kaizen was the main crux of the game. Unfortunately, while interesting at the beginning, I easily found out just how limited the AI system was. I was hoping for a full conversation kind of experience, but in the end, found that Kaizen was there as a tool rather than a companion. This then limited my interactions with the AI, as I began just using it when I needed to. That’s not to say the game didn’t have its moments of brilliance. A nice scene occurs where I had a time limit to get Kaizen to open a door for me, and the AI thought it would be a good time to quiz me on who I was because it couldn’t tell if I was who I said I was. Event has a few moments like that that really make it shine, but they are few and far between and by the time I had seen a few, the game was over.
I’m being vague in this review simply because it really is an experience over an actual game, and due to the short length, I really don’t want to spoil the experience for would be players. It took me only around two and a half hours to complete, and even though there are multiple endings to the game, I didn’t really feel compelled to replay it to see the other endings, because once I knew what to do and where to go, I saw no need to redo everything in a hurry just to change my choice at the end.
Event is an interesting game with a very interesting concept. Think of it like HAL 9000, but much more limited in scope and threat. The novelty wore off for me within the first 30 minutes of playing, and unfortunately, then began to look at it more like a game to complete rather than an experience that needed to be seen. That may very well be my fault, but in the end, I think the game itself wasn’t made the way I had hoped. Either way, its $20 on Steam and has some interesting concepts, but ultimately falls short on the overall experience. I’d say play it, but after a price drop.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.