Platform: PC (reviewed)
Developer: Advect Productions
Release date: December 1, 2017
Price: Included with Humble Bundle (Dec 2017)
TL;DR: A job simulator with a disturbing, dystopian feel.
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Indie studio Advect Productions has partnered up with Humble for their Originals programme to bring you two short games for December’s Humble Bundle: Crescent Bay and THOR.N. The aim of these games is to create a meaningful experience over a short period of gameplay.
Waking up on your 18th birthday should be an exciting prospect – a significant milestone as you step into adulthood – and the chance to finally head down to your local pub and buy your first legal pint.
In THOR.N, the morning of your 18th birthday is a little different. Your room looks like it belongs to any other teen – clothes strewn on the floor, mugs left on various surfaces – and that’s where the similarity ends. You’re being urged, by an excited and over-the-top voice – which appears to be coming from a large, jelly-baby-esque head attached to the wall – that you need to get up and open your birthday gift. A gift of 50 credits, dispensed by an aptly impersonal screen.
Your bedroom door is then unlocked and opened, electronically.
If all of that isn’t enough to make you feel that things aren’t quite right, you’re informed – still with that super-encouraging, mumsy tone – that you’ve unlocked the first room in your apartment. Three workstations await you and you must now start working for your citizenship by creating uniforms, rations and munitions. You will gain more credits for each job completed which will then allow you to buy another workstation or upgrade any that you’ve already unlocked. Each time you purchase an upgrade, you can a skill point which then adds to your citizenship level.
There are various details that have been included in your surroundings that add to the dystopian feel of the game, from ‘No Entry’ signs emblazoned on glass doors that presumably lead to the outside world – whatever that is – to information terminals that show you how well other citizens are performing. It’s also worth paying attention to what you’re being told as, though the voice retains the upbeat, cheerful tone when addressing you directly, some stuff comes across as a thinly veiled threat.
The jobs you fulfil at the workstations are very straightforward and though it’s simple and repetitive, there’s a certain degree of satisfaction from watching your credits rack up so you can unlock the next workstation or buy the next upgrade.
As well as the ever-present voice, your work is punctuated by non-descript elevator music, presumably to help keep you calm and maintain an air of ‘there really is nothing weird going on here – just keep working, everything will be fine.’
For such a short game – it took me roughly 25 minutes to complete – this title manages to intrigue. Even the repetitive nature of the job system wasn’t as off-putting as it might first seem. I would’ve been quite happy to have worked my way through more citizen levels, earning more credits to find out more about the world the game is set in.
- Effective atmosphere with time allowance
- Voice acting effectively adds to the ‘feel.’
- Too short!
Rated: Not yet rated; No blood or violence but probably more suited for teens or older.
Disclaimer: This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher for the purposes of this review.