Gone in November (PC) Review

By Thom Compton 18.01.2017

Review for Gone in November on PC

It's easy, in life, to get caught up in ourselves. This is why art is so important, as it allows us to experience other people's stories in a way we otherwise never could. Games have attempted to do this, with varying degrees of success, as too often they feel like interactive movies. To its credit, Gone in November feels like more than an experience you just click your way through. Unfortunately, it's a different kind of problem.

Gone in November tells the story of the final days of someone dying of a terminal illness. The beginning of the game asks you to go through your normal routine while worrying about other things. There's something to be said about the game dealing with some interesting social issues, like health care. The game also manages to do a fine job dealing with depression and the anger that comes from someone in their last days.

Truth be told, the artwork, what little there is, is somewhat refreshing, as it manages to make retro apply to 90s graphics. The low poly furniture is convincing enough to trick you into believing this is someone's home, a place where they have their fondest memories. Their home is filled with the sound of music, some garage band the owner is obsessed with. For the first 10 minutes of Gone in November, it feels like a world with purpose, a world a life clearly happened in.

Screenshot for Gone in November on PC

It's after going to sleep that everything falls apart, and you must witness the decaying mind of someone who has nothing to look back on but regret. You will experience them realising all the mistakes they have made, and by the time they come to terms, you will be given a choice. The game ends very abruptly, like the life of the player's avatar, or the game's replayability. You see, Gone in November may tell an important story, rarely addressed in video games, but getting that message is like talking into a broken phone.

The first issue appears with none other than the TAB button, used to bring up your To Do list. It's not only underused but fairly difficult to understand when you do use it. While some misspellings and grammar issues can be forgiven in indie games, they seem to crop up a lot in Gone in November. All of this could be forgiven, as the To Do list is not incredibly interesting (it functions mostly as filler at the beginning) and grammatical errors in a small project are merely bumps.

Screenshot for Gone in November on PC

No, Gone in November's problem comes from its inability to hit any actual stride in its short play time. About halfway through the game, the story divulges into a weird trip into the character's psyche that uses mainly cheap parlour tricks to extend the play time; oversized environments and paths that are extended for no reason other than to take longer to walk through. Several sections take place in a bright white room that's horrendously hard to see in, as though the player is drifting towards the light. They aren't, and everything is simply separated by this blinding light. It's an interesting concept that inevitably is more annoying than it is inspiring.

Be forewarned this game can occasionally hurt your eyes. The blinding light manages to do it, but from time to time the game also has moments of flashing light. It's not pulsating, but it can be a bit jolting to see.

It seems harsh to refer to the levels as filler, but they only really function to try to convey the cryptic regrets the lead is supposed to have. They are largely just backdrops for the text the player is supposed to read, which is where Gone in November goes from confusing art piece to borderline ridiculous.

Screenshot for Gone in November on PC

The text, perhaps in an attempt to convey that the player's life is in chaos, is incredibly difficult to read. It is often set at an orientation that requires the player to walk past it, and then wrench the avatars head up to read it. Early on the text is spread across the screen in a very easy to read format but, as the game progresses, it becomes incredibly difficult to read. You are often expected to navigate through a dark landscape while text fills the screen, often laying on top of each other. It does this so rapidly you often miss out on things because they're covered up.

Also, on a few occasions, the text was the same colour as the background, due to changing locations. This is forgivable but it still feels like something should have been in place if the player could move freely, perhaps a different colour besides white and black. Gone in November has an abrupt ending, and it's probably for the best. It never manages to be much more than cryptic, though perhaps that's a good lesson. You don't get to know everything about this character, though that feels like a disservice to the player in a story driven game. So, should one play Gone in November? Sure, as long as someone is aware going in that low expectations are definitely needed.

Screenshot for Gone in November on PC

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

Gone in November manages to be a nice insight into someone's final days, but it never really justifies being a game. It's confusing, often directionless, and its poor decisions involving text make it hard to follow the small grains of plot you're supposed to be finding. Perhaps in another life, it could have been a book or short film. Unfortunately, in this life, it is a game—and one that doesn't really work very well.

Developer

Florastamine

Publisher

Sometimes You

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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