The Red Strings Club
Publisher- Devolver Digital
Release Date- January 22, 2018
Price at time of Review: Steam $12.74
At first glance, one would be tempted to disregard this game due to the visuals in the world of high tech graphics. But having shiny 4k graphics means nothing if there is no story to tell. The Red Strings Club is a stylistic narrative game that will keep you second-guessing the decisions you made even at the end of the game. There are some adult themes within the game, so it is not for children.
The Red Strings Club is a cyberpunk narrative story-driven game that discusses how far are you willing to let corporations shape the world. The question of if the Corporation could guarantee that you won’t feel sadness, depression, anger or fear, would you be willing to partake in their program? Or is that same power of the corporation purely brainwashing since that human being will no longer have the emotions that make them a human being? The question presents itself throughout the story and forces the player to make decisions on how they would shape the world if they could.
In the game, the player takes part in conversations between a bartender, a hacker, and an android trying to find their place in the world. During their conversations, they attempt to rationalize taking down a program by Supercontinent LTD called Social Psyche Welfare. Social Psyche Welfare, or SPW, was designed to eliminate all of those emotions such as sadness from human beings and leave them in a state of euphoria. Using the different skills of the three characters, players will interact with employees of Supercontinent LTD and try to figure out the root reason for the SPW program and try and stop it.
The Red Strings Club is a colorful game that uses an art style that reminds me of Escape from Monkey Island by Lucas Arts from back in the day. The 2d art style is very well done and just looks pixelated enough that it doesn’t distract from the main story. From the blinking lights, the rain and wind effects, and even the cigarettes being lit, the game looks good. The only time it starts to falter is when it goes into the different sequences dealing with pottery and pouring the drinks. For some reason going into that first-person view, completely threw me off my game and I had to adjust in order to complete the task. Besides that, I was able to overlook it and stay focused on the task at hand, which was deciding how much free will should humans give up.
Being that The Red Strings Club is a story-driven game, there isn’t much action happening. You do have somewhat of a mini-game where you are pouring drinks that can be very frustrating if you do not have a steady hand. But the majority of the time you are asking questions to the patrons of the bar and trying to piece together their answers to get more information.
The game does not give you any hints on what you are expected to do next, which I find very refreshing. I was able to figure out the direction that I was supposed to go with the conversations by just piecing together the answers that were given. Several spots within the game took me a little longer than I would like, but they weren’t that difficult to complete. Just remember that all the decisions you make within the game will eventually change the way you experience the end.
The Red Strings Club is a relatively short game. I was able to complete it in one sitting in less than four hours. I know I missed a lot of dialogue after looking at the achievements list, so there are some story pieces I don’t know. Even when you complete the game, it gives you somewhat of an option to start fresh and attempt to rectify what you missed. I will be definitely playing this game again to get all the story arcs.
If you couldn’t tell, I completely love this game. Even though it was a short game, I can tell that the developers poured sweat and tears into the story, and made something timeless. The story of corporations taking away what makes us human can be looked at with real-world implications. Especially the idea of how certain products are sold to us on a daily basis. I would rate The Red Strings Club 4 out of 5 stars, and I highly recommend everyone play this game.