A warning, above. goodbye world only lasts about two hours and is almost entirely comprised of story scenes. This review will contain relevant spoilers.
“Depressing indie game” has, over the past few years, evolved from a trend to a genre in its own right. Clearly, indie games have a lot more of a human element than their larger counterparts, and the decline in human sanity in general over the past few decades due to the discovery of just how screwed up the world really is, naturally leads to reflections on this state of mind in our media.
Many of my favorite titles of all time stem from this trend. I already talked about it The Beginner’s Guide this year in my writing Stanley Parabola Ultra Deluxe exam, but I would put to the moon, witness of The Walking Deadand the road of the Genocide of Subtitle on the same list. These are games that can make you cry, make you feel personally responsible, or challenge you emotionally to maintain yourself in an environment where you can, at any time, stop the game and leave.
But all of the best games on this list have one thing really in common, and that’s a sense of sincerity. They look like real, intensely personal stories that were crafted and adapted into art – not that any of these events actually happened, but rather that the creators themselves were deeply invested in the narrative that they were delivering to their player. The Beginner’s Guide may or may not be entirely fictional, but the bold way its author puts himself into the story is the kind of emotional honesty you just can’t fake. There’s no way to stick the landing if you don’t jump the right way.
Let’s talk about goodbye world.
We see the world from the perspective of Kanii, an indie game developer who befriends an artist after his former circle of creators part ways on bad terms. Together, she and her new friend Kanade co-create a game at school that wins a student creator award and decide to develop a commercial product together after graduating. They move in together, get part-time jobs, and start working.
And they fail.
Kanii is unable to socialize with people who aren’t predisposed to liking her, and basically everyone in her life except Kanade accurately points out that she doesn’t seem to be up to the task of holding a full-time job. partial, let alone create a video game that other people will really want to play. She has a simple coping mechanism where she imagines a happy cat, but it becomes less effective as the reality of the world closes in on her and she retreats into a play from her childhood.
We are led to believe that this game is “Blocks”, a Game Boy-style puzzle-platformer retraux in which the player progresses through the story. As things get more emotionally complex, the game increases dramatically in difficulty, requiring pixel-perfect reflexes and keen game intuition for mechanics that aren’t defined as such. goodbye world is nearing its conclusion. In the end, I found “Blocks” to be an extremely successful meta item that didn’t hinder the story too much, as it’s clearly meant to be too difficult (and the player is only required to complete only a few steps, as getting a Game Over will also progress the story in the same way).
In every scene, Kanii has her Game Boy and frequently uses it to ignore things going on around her, whether it’s the dissolution of her friendship with her previous artist, her duties at her job, and even from the publisher to which she submits her game. I began to wonder if the title of goodbye world was, in addition to the programming joke, a reference to how Kanii shuts herself off from her surroundings, both physically and emotionally.
Unfortunately, all of that intriguing, well-constructed buildup ends up being spent on an ending that’s meant to be explicitly shocking, but whose framing ends up painting like offensive instead, in the opinion of this reviewer. The title of the game should give you an obvious clue as to what’s to come, but I was confident enough in the strength of the narrative to expect things to be subversive. Instead, the way this game ends is cheap and pointless.
Being such a short and simple experience, if ending a game in one sitting is bad, it inevitably taints the whole experience – and I would say goodbye worldThe unnecessarily cruel and mocking ending goes even further. Rather than getting to the end of a themed roller coaster, I felt like I had been thrown off a cliff.