Essays on Empathy Review

Empathy essays is not a coherent game, but rather a collection of games created by Deconstructteam. Other notable works by the developer include Gods Will Be Watching and The Red Strings Club, and several of the games included in Essays on Empathy tie into those games. Some connections are very subtle, while others tie in as a demonstration of where Deconstructeam began to find its storytelling voice and how each game reflects its evolution. Besides the mini-games included in Essays on Empathy, there are videos included with each game to give some insight into the development process and Deconstructteam’s thoughts about each game. While none of the games are particularly long, they can deal with heavy subjects. Deconstructeam makes sure to use trigger warnings before games that deal with any sensitive topics, which is a nice change of pace considering how there has been some backlash against using trigger warnings in video games. Story-wise, each game exists in its own bubble and some are actually easier to play than others. The difficulty does not come from the game mechanics, but rather the subject matter encountered within each game. However, each game is heartwarming enough that it will stay with players long after they finish it. deconstructteam-supercontinent-ltd Gameplay mechanics vary from mini-game to mini-game. The first game in Essays on Empathy, titled “Underground Hangovers” is a Metroidvania-style game where players must help a group of miners get home after being abandoned on the planet they were mining. Instead of using conventional tools, players have to craft some interesting, pocket-sized tools to help the miners get home. The main controls are the keyboard commands, nothing extensive, but the mines are extensive and allow players many opportunities to find the ore necessary to leave. “Underground Hangovers” actually takes place in the same universe as Gods Will Be Watching, which the developer confirmed in the accompanying video. “Supercontinent Ltd” is the second game in the Essays on Empathy lineup and it’s delightfully engaging. It’s a point-and-click adventure where players assume the role of a hacker trying to learn information about the criminal corporation Supercontinent Ltd. Players must use a voice modification device, which allows the player character to use anyone’s voice and further advance the game with various phone calls. The more information that is learned, the faster the story progresses. Paying attention to background details is important to “Supercontinent Ltd,” as is having a pen and paper handy to jot down some phone numbers. This game is not as imaginative as others, but it has an unexpected but exciting twist at the end. “Behind Every Great One” is definitely one of the harder games to play. Again, it’s not the gameplay mechanics, which are very easy to navigate (arrow controls and the spacebar), it’s the premise of the game. Players take on the role of a wife who takes care of duties around the house while her husband is a hotshot artist. Very quickly it becomes apparent that the wife can only do so much each day, which leads to criticism from her husband and any other characters who appear later. It’s an honest, raw look at an abusive relationship and the mind of someone struggling with depression. While not everyone can handle the subject of “Behind Every Great One,” it’s worth playing and experiencing life as the wife knows it. Other games in Essays on Empathy include “11.45 A Vivid Life,” “Eternal Home Floristry,” and “Zen and the Art of Transhumanism,” just to name a few. “11.45 A Vivid Life” is incredibly moving, allowing players to take on the role of Laynie—a girl who believes her frame is not hers. The game allows for different endings based on his discoveries, making it easily replayable. However, while the game isn’t graphic, it does deal with physical damage, which not everyone can stomach. RELATED: Shin Megami Tensei 3 Nocturne HD Remaster Review garza-bonachera-essays-on-empathy “Eternal Home Floristry” is another standout game, allowing players to step into the life of Gordon, a recently wounded hitman as he resides in the home of Sebastian, an elderly gardener. Players will build flower arrangements and learn the power that flowers can have in game events. Although “Eternal Home Floristry” is short, it’s a sweet story about growth, connection, and the different forms of love. Perhaps the star of the show is “De Tres al Cuarto,” the new game from Deconstructeam that follows two comedians trying to make it. Unlike most other games, this game runs about 90 minutes long and has no save option as it is meant to be played in one sitting. It’s a narrative story, but the gameplay takes the form of choosing the right cards during their standup comedy set. Players can buy new cards, upgrade, or discard cards using the money they earn in the set. Each game tells its own story in an immersive world that players can easily understand. There is no explanatory dialogue or message—players are thrown into the game and are meant to piece it together on their own. It’s a real strength that each of the games showcases, as these brief glimpses into the characters’ lives hint at a larger world they inhabit. It also allows players to interpret things as they see them, especially in games like “11.45 A Vivid Life” and “Eternal Home Floristry.” deconstructteam-essays-on-empathy Overall, Essays on Empathy is a great look at the lives of various characters and how they fit into the world around them. It may not be the most graphically or mechanically advanced, but that doesn’t seem to be the goal of the games. Empathy essays give players the opportunity to put themselves in the shoes of people who are different from them and understand them a little better than before. While some players may struggle with certain topics covered in each game, the topics covered are part of a larger conversation worth having. Essays on Empathy releases May 18 for PC. Today Technology was provided with a code for this review. MORE: Hood Review: Outlaws and Legends

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