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White Mirror (PC) artwork

White Mirror (PC) review


"Seven years of bad luck condensed to thirty minutes."


White Mirror (PC) image


After reading through White Mirror's clumsily phrased introduction several times, you might be able to piece together a premise. My best attempt at a coherent summary: you're an unimportant character on a mission to creep into a "thrown" house (I believe the writer meant "abandoned") to retrieve a mirror for a man who once resided there. Obviously, the deserted abode is a death trap, and the friend who put you up to the task is either stupid or a horrible person. Since you're a real pal, though, you decide to enter the sinister domicile and carry out your comrade's wishes whilst ignoring conspicuous blood streaks that decorate the brick walkway.

There are scores of terrific horror stories that begin when their protagonists make similarly poor decisions. H.P. Lovecraft's "The Terrible Old Man," for one, starts when three thugs decide to burgle a manor in spite of the terrifying rumors that circulate about the old man who owns it. They do this because gossip has it the geezer is stinking rich, and robbing him might just be worth risking their necks. It's an idiotic scheme, but it's logical because the characters at least have a solid motive. In contrast, White Mirror's protagonist has no incentive to enter the eerie living space and snatch the titular item except that he's a nice guy. A poorly thought out setup like this should serve as a humongous red flag to potential players.

White Mirror (PC) image


Given the weak premise, it should perhaps come as no surprise that the game itself is poorly executed. For starters, the campaign's first half consists of a series of contrived objectives: nabbing keys, unlocking doors, throwing switches, getting drunk, and sleeping. Instead of meaningful goals that advance the tale or spook players, White Mirror presents mundane tasks that stretch out the paper-thin storyline. A journal that details your priorities only serves to exacerbate the issue, because unusual vocabulary choices too often lead to confusing entries. For instance, there's a bullet point that reads "find the knife switch from the hatch," which should actually say, "locate the knife switch that opens the cellar."

Entering the basement initiates the most baffling quest of all. According to a perplexing note found next to a work bench, you now must snag three toolboxes that somehow unlock a sealed door. After securing them, you might rush to the portal and find that you require a key to disengage the lock. However, a thorough search of the premises reveals no such event item. As it turns out, you're supposed to return to the work bench and combine the three toolboxes to craft what appears to be a car battery. Doing that somehow opens the passageway to the next area. Bear in mind that none of this is mentioned in the scrawled memo.

White Mirror (PC) image


The game's script really could have used an editor with a firmer grasp of the English language. The money it would likely have cost to pay such a professional might have exceeded the project's available budget, but the end result would surely have been much clearer.

I can sense a question lingering in the back of your mind: "But is White Mirror at least frightening?" The answer is a simple "No."

White Mirror utilizes worn out scares, from inexplicable bloodstains to stock, otherworldly voices demanding that you "get out." The ghostly phenomena don't make sense, either, because the antagonist isn't a specter. Rather, it's a gangling humanoid whose appearance is akin to ET, but with ridiculously elongated limbs. And heaven help you, should he happen to catch you! You'll suffer the horrifying fate of watching him run in place while the screen flickers, finally transitioning to a "Game Over" image. To top it all off, an obnoxious chase theme plays whenever he approaches you, which obliterates any chance of casting the creature in an imposing light.

There are also a few points when the monster materializes immediately ahead of you, to elicit cheap jump scares. Then he immediately vanishes for no discernible reason. This destroys White Mirror's fear factor, and it's not in keeping with the being's character established by that point. Why would a beast who was trying to kill and devour you a minute ago suddenly decide you're not worth offing?

White Mirror (PC) image


You'll only bear witness to these shenanigans, though, if the game's glitches don't inspire you to quit much earlier in the proceedings. Some of them are quite nasty. I've even experienced a few crashes merely by loading save files. Even worse is the fact that some doorways become inoperable if you save your progress before opening them. There's one at the beginning of "Night II" that doesn't even give you the option to interact with it if you save and load before turning the knob, which leaves you permanently trapped in a bedroom. During my playthrough, I also found a door that wouldn't let me pass through it even though it was wide open.

Abide the game's laughable campaign for its duration and your spoils are a "tense" finale and an epilogue that's even more unintelligible than the prelude. You must survive a final run through a narrow tunnel, with the antagonist right on your tail. "Feed me!" it says, as you easily outpace it and jog up a staircase. Eventually, you find yourself inside of a train, because why not? The plot has made no sense up to this point, so an arbitrary train buried beneath an old house that's resting on a cave system doesn't seem especially ill-fitting or implausible. Soon afterward, you exit the stage and the protagonist offers up a monologue summarizing what transpired as he egressed. I couldn't make heads or tails of that conclusion, thanks to the dodgy translation, so I'm incapable of telling you whether or not the adventure ended on a high note.

Ultimately, White Mirror is the antithesis of a solid horror game. Its combination of unimaginative objectives, bugs, a nonsensical story, a wimpy villain, cliche scares, and a shoddy translation render it an abysmal experience, one that I can't in any way recommend. I wish I could focus more on the game's effective aspects, but I truly have nothing positive to say about such an absolute wreck.

1/5

JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Staff review by Joseph Shaffer (February 12, 2016)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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Feedback

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gmmny posted March 11, 2016:

full game review please
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JoeTheDestroyer posted March 11, 2016:

This is the full game.

EDIT: We don't review demos, and I'm sure Steam doesn't make you pay for them or allow you to gift them, either. The editor-in-chief paid for the game and gifted it to me. So yes, this review is for the full game.
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Masters posted March 17, 2016:

Joe: you're back reviewing demos AGAIN? Not cool, man.
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JoeTheDestroyer posted March 18, 2016:

But but but but I can't afford the full game! (Never mind that I didn't pay for it in the first place...)

I suppose I should also add that the game is no longer in Early Access mode, and wasn't at the time I reviewed it.

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