NothingElse Review: A very dark and a very short game

TIME :2022-07-03

NothingElse is a very dark game, a very short game, a game that doesn't allow you to save your progress, yet great nonetheless. I'll do the best I can to review this without of spoiling the ending, which was incredibly dark, but I definitely didn't see it coming. For that reason, the game won me over.

There isn't much for a backdrop when you start. At the beginning of the game, you are a nameless protagonist, with the setting being the inside of the house you live in. You begin things by exploring said house, and stumble across a book that the protagonist apparently hasn't read in a long while. Once he starts reading it again, everything quickly goes downhill into a nightmarish creepshow, with what appears to be blood on the walls, things going bump in the night, and more gruesomeness. The game, as seems to be the trend with others like it in the horror genre, asks that you play with headphones on and in the dark.

The graphics for this game are very low end and pixel oriented.  The credits at the end indicate that Game Maker's Sprite Editor was used in conjunction with Paint. Obviously this isn't a game to dazzle the eyes with, but it doesn't get in the way if you can appreciate low end graphics. While I highly doubt I could play through an epic saga at that level, it didn't bother me in NothingElse considering how short the game is.

The controls turn out to be as simple as the graphics. Pressing anywhere on the left half of the screen moves the character to the left, pressing anywhere on the right half accomplishes the same thing in the opposite direction. There's a small strip across the bottom of the screen (akin to the space bar on a keyboard) that you tap when interacting with objects,  as well as it doubling as a spot for reading the subtitles in the game; there's no voice work to speak of. The music, while also deliberately low end in its quality, is fitting in that it starts out as innocuous and flips over to something more creepy and commensurate with the overall mood of the game.

With no save file to speak of, that makes continuing impossible if you don't complete it in one sitting or ensure that the OS doesn't close it out in the background if you decide to multitask. With how short the game is (I completed it in about over an hour), it's not difficult to replay your lost progress, should the need arise. The game, were you to replay it after finishing it, could easily be completed in under ten minutes.

And speaking of replay, you just might want to breeze through it, just to see how the clues make more sense after seeing the ending. I found that I missed most of them that might have explained some things before hand, but after completing it,  the game made a LOT more sense the second time through, though this was more like re-watching a movie while knowing the surprise ending.

Overall,  this game is solid for what it is. It's small (under 21 MB), simple, and free. If you have an hour to kill,  you have nothing to lose for trying it.  .

NothingElse (Playboard) | NothingElse (Play Store)