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Please, Don't Touch Anything (PC) artwork

Please, Don't Touch Anything (PC) review

"You're nobody's fool."

Please, Don't Touch Anything begins with a bathroom break that can usher in the end of the world. No, I'm not trying to look at the game from an unusual perspective, that's legitimately what happens on the first session; an unseen operator scurries to the nearest water closet, leaving the poor player to stand in front of a giant panel and told not to touch anything. This giant panel... only houses a lonely, ominous red button in the center, and just above the panel is a monochromatic monitor that's spying a city. Adding to the growing pile of unanswered questions is a board of instructions in the upper left corner of the wall, aptly titled "INSTRUCTION." Here, you're told to grab a screwdriver and a hammer. But there's no screwdriver or hammer to be seen...

If you, like I did, let things play out long enough, passing time by clicking everything other than the red button, then the operator eventually comes back. When the protagonist irritatingly disapproves of the long bathroom break, the operator jokingly hints at a potential apocalypse if the player decided to do anything. Mmm. The end. Seriously, if you don't do anything, the game pretty much rewards you a peaceful, uneventful ending, even going so far as to prevent you from pressing the red button after the fact. The only option available is to click the restart lever, and... well, that's when the real challenge starts.

You have to touch that red button.

From there, the game suddenly transforms into a shockingly oddball enigma that revolves around clicking stuff, which in turn persuades you to click other stuff, which then makes you click several more things. Clicking away with the mouse eventually leads you down various pathways, each with many different outcomes and tones that concludes the game in mere minutes; just when you're trying to get serious, you're presented with a silly climax, and when you think it's heading into something lighthearted, the game curbs your expectations with something creepy. Considering the entire playthrough takes place on a single screen, with a lone panel and monitor, it's really clever how much content is placed into its small space without truly feeling crammed.

If that last paragraph felt like it was lacking vivid descriptions, that's because Please, Don't Touch Anything is difficult to provide hefty details without spoiling solutions. It may not seem like a big deal now, as a person reading this review prior to playing, but once you're in and come across those examples, you'll be filled with regret for not uncovering those puzzles on your own. I even highly advise avoiding screenshots, as it's visually easier to spoil multiple solutions with a single image. The entire experience hinges on not knowing what to do next, and it makes each and every discovery all the more gratifying as you march closer to completing the game's 20-plus endings.

Of course mileage and skill vary from player to player, but you're likely going to find around five to ten endings on your starting sessions. You might even think this is as hard as it gets. However, you're going to hit a wall, and you're going to sit there for 20 or 30-some minutes clicking the same things over and over without finding new things. Eventually you find something new: one new thing. Then it's back to staring and thinking. The game can seriously take anywhere from five, ten, 20, or maybe more hours to unlock all endings without hints or a guide, based on how much pride a player has. Hilariously, when you finally do unravel some of the clues, you'll feel like a fool for not figuring them out earlier. That "nothing" that's been in your face for the last few hours actually meant something.

It's not a game for everyone, though. Players seeking something that's based heavily around puzzle-solving with very little to go on are sure to enjoy it, but Please, Don't Touch Anything can have a polarizing reaction for everyone else if the game was described the wrong way to them. I don't think I could even recommend this as a "main" for some people, considering the possibility of going long sessions without accomplishing a thing; for those players, it could be more of a "side" game to tackle while you're doing something else. However, if you're open to diving into a title that will intentionally give you constant brain farts in the pursuit of unscrambling bizarre mysteries, Please, Don't Touch Anything gives you that experience.


pickhut's avatar
Featured community review by pickhut (November 07, 2016)

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