You Will (Not) Remain (PC) review
"A clever inside reference."
You Will (not) Remain is a (free) game about surviving the end of the world brought along by an eldritch abomination. Except, thatís just the background noise rather than the driving thrust of the game. Thereís no controlling a ragtag group of misfits trying to take back control of their dying world, nor are you a desperate survivor sifting through the ruins to try and eke out a post-Apocalypse existence. Thereís no need; youíre perfectly safe in your apartment. You have ample supplies, running electricity and a warm bed. To survive, all you have to do is stay there. The problem is, the only thing you have to do is stay there.
Going out to your balcony will give you a decent view of what used to be the city. The buildings are still there, but thereís a huge purple monstrosity nestled in among them now. Thatís a cause for concern. Infrequently, your radio will splutter into life and warn you about it. Youíll be safe so long as you stay indoors, it tells you. Donít go outside. Donít have any contact with anyone whoís been outside. Just never leave your homes and donít let anything in, and youíll be okay.
It probably wonít take you very long to match Remainís fantastical plight with the more mundane reality weíre all currently facing with that whole Covid-19 thing. Thatís why itís not about fighting monsters, but surviving the sudden isolation youíre forced into when the rest of the world is suddenly closed off to you. Whatís left to try and fill your days? How do you cope when you used to have an entire world to explore, and now youíre limited to the tiny patch of it you call home?
You Will (not) Remain attempts to fill this with an easily exhausted list of mundane tasks. Thereís a flower to water, I guess. And coffee to drink. You can turn the TV on, but thereís nothing going on there. Other than that, you can look outside now and then and see the world you used to be able to interact with. Quietly mocking you by existing. Itís very, very easy to consume the list of things youíre able to achieve, so why not just crawl back into bed and give up on the day? Give up on the week? Give up on the world?
Itís an interesting case study in isolation, and having a runtime that clocks in at under an hour ensures the purposefully repetitive nature of the game doesnít get the chance to grind against you. I suspect it was a pretty cathartic game to make, and it might be equally so to play through. Weíve all suffered during the myriad stages of lockdown and, while a lot of similarities are shared, weíve all battled out our own unique monsters, which may or may not make the experience a little more meaningful to you. None of them have taken over a major city and destroyed the majority of the population, at least. So far, anyway.
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