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There Is No Game: Altered Dimensions Review

There Is No Game is one of the most clever gaming experiences I’ve ever had. In the game, you’re you, and you want to play a game. The only problem is, the game doesn’t want to be played, and so it is trying to do everything it can to stop you from playing it. The game (voiced by the game’s sole developer, Pascal Cammisotto) attempts to throw every roadblock it can at you to stop you from playing it, and you have to solve adventure game puzzles to get past its trickery.

There Is No Game features some of the most clever puzzles I have seen in an adventure game since Simogo’s mobile masterwork Device 6. Unlike that game, There Is No Game is technically on PC as well, so you won’t be using any device specific tricks to get past the game’s many obstacles, but you will be solving puzzles in a very meta way that forces you to think as far outside of the box of what it means to play an adventure game as you possibly can. As an example, the first chapter of the game takes place in the actual main titles for the game. You tap the exclamation point that appears at the end of the game’s title and the top part of the exclamation point falls to the bottom of the screen and becomes a paddle while the dot becomes a bouncing ball, and you use them to play a game of Breakout to knock out the rest of the letters of the title.

The game is filled to the brim with these types of game-breaking puzzles, each more clever than the last. Nearly every one comes with an enormously satisfying “Aha!” moment and gleeful exclamations of “surely they can’t actually want me to do this.” Across the game’s six lengthy chapters, you’ll play through parodies of old LucasArts adventure titles, the Legend of Zelda, and more. Unfortunately, the entire time you’re bound by point-and-click laws, so you won’t actually be playing these games, rather toying with aspects of them. Clicking the UI of the Zelda riff to make it drop with a thud and wake up the main character is very clever and fun, but I wish I had some more control over the game’s themselves.

Each parody is brought to life with really gorgeous and authentic pixel art and accompanied by some great music, but the real star of the show is Cammisotto’s Game. Game is the game’s main antagonist, constantly badgering you and insisting you stop doing what you’re doing and to turn the game off because it so desperately wants to not be played. This nonstop chatter would be annoying if it weren’t so cleverly written and well-acted. These quips that Game spits out at you are so well done that hearing them becomes half of the appeal of the game, and it’s not just clever meta-jokes, by the end you’re left genuinely caring about Game and his story which you will slowly come to learn.

There Is No Game is one of the most original games I have played in years. It is constantly one-upping itself, and simply put I don’t think I’ve seen this many wholly original ideas laid out in one game before in my life. The game remains a delight the whole way through thanks to a virtuoso performance by the game’s one man developer, responsible for the writing, voicing, graphics, mechanics, puzzles, and much of the music. Frankly this is a very exciting game, and I can not wait to see whatever Cammisotto does next as I’m sure it will be just as entertaining and original.

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