The game: How to win the
genre: Visual System
: PC (Steam)
Developer/Publisher: Hidden Track
Age Classification: EU 12+ | Teen USA
Price : Publication date to be determined
: 31. March 2021
Display code with many thanks Hidden Track
How to win is an unusual game to describe. I think experimental experience is the best way to put it. A game developed in the difficult year of 2020. It was created based on public suggestions of developer questions such as How do I kill a dragon? or how to make the most money. They essentially play the results of these poles in a visual novel-like game. Since the game is called How to Win, you don’t really get any input in this session.
The questions were asked, the people answered.
From the office to the dragon’s game
So, the story, where to start. The game has five chapters and starts with you working in a company where you have to push a button to make money while working under a sarcastic and difficult lady, Susan. In the next chapter you try to defeat a dragon, the next you run an amusement park, and finally you work in television. This game takes you to different places, but what is clear from the start is how the game contains political themes, which may not appeal to all viewers.
Susan is a bad guy.
How to Win begins with a warning page that informs the player that the game contains references to racism, transphobia, climate change, police brutality, etc. The warning is appreciated, as I think this game is definitely not for everyone, especially those who have already had a tough 2020. The game is uncomfortable at times and has a habit of reminding you of an upside-down world with facts and newspaper quotes.
After finishing chapter 3, I pretty much left the game forever. It feels like it got a little complicated, because 2020 wasn’t exactly easy for me either, and playing a game like that isn’t good for my mental health. But I decided to keep going, and when I finished the game, I was quite surprised by the game’s closing message, which actually answers the main question of the game, which is how to win (so to speak). A message that actually made a lot of sense, but it was like having to walk through a rose bush with sharp thorns to get there.
Summaries of answers to most Mr. Dragons questions and technical data.
How To Win is essentially a visual romance style game. You use your mouse to click each field at your own pace. You can record wherever you need a break and pick up where you left off later. The game offers no challenge, you just have to click on each screen, read the text and occasionally choose a dialogue and play some very simple mini-games.
There are several dialogue options available, but they don’t seem to have much impact on the gameplay, as all roads seem to lead to the same end. As it stands, I didn’t really feel connected to the game.
Options are offered, but your contribution is not relevant.
Chart and length
The drawing style consists of rough, hand-drawn sketches accompanied by a strange photo of Susan that looks like it came from a generic office website. Considering the game was made in a year, I think the developers did their best with limited resources. On the other hand, this game can probably run on anything, even my junk laptop.
There is also a very forgettable soundtrack playing in the background. In total, it took me about three hours to work out the five chapters, with regular breaks. Although I enjoyed the ending, I didn’t feel the need to replay the game. When you’re done, the game directs you to a link where you can comment and influence the next season of the game.
Click to win
How to Win will likely have a divided audience, which may be the intent of the developers. Some people will play it and enjoy the experiments tried here. Still, some may find the experience uncomfortable and elusive when it comes to the subject matter on display. Overall, it was nothing for me, but I respect developers who try something different. If you want to win, you don’t have to play this game. If you took the time out of your busy schedule to read this report, consider yourself the ultimate winner!
There’s a free demo on Steam if you want to try it before you buy it. The developers are also planning a season 2, where you can give your suggestions and decide what happens next.
Last block : I’m not sure.
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