Review of I’m Dead – GameSpew
There aren’t many games that are as weird, as wonderful, and as quintessentially British as I am dead.
Having the word “dead” or “dead” in a video game title can usually imply a dark, brooding, horror-filled affair. Not I am dead. From developers Hollow Ponds and Richard Hogg – the names behind Hohokum and Wilmot Warehouse – I’m Dead could not be further from this description. Instead, he deals with death clearly and neutrally as if it wasn’t a big deal. After all, it’s not really – it’s something that happens to all of us at some point. And here you play Morris Lupton, a recently deceased man. Yeah, you play like a ghost.
But Morris is not the kind of ghost who wears sheets and scares people. It is simply a spirit, which still exists on the idyllic island of Shelmerston, the place he has called his home all his life. Her memories are intact and her love for her hometown is stronger than ever. Since his death he has only been having fun, pondering his life and wondering if he could have done things differently. It wasn’t until he was reunited with his beloved dog, Sparky, that things in the afterlife started to get interesting for Morris.
Shelmerston Island – fictional but filled with true British seaside spirit – is actually built around a volcano. It’s been dormant for thousands of years, so people haven’t considered the possibility of it erupting in a long time. But it turns out it’s not because the volcano is extinct; For the past 3,000 years, a spirit known as the Guardian has watched over the island, keeping it safe. But the time for the spirit to move on has come, so it behooves Morris and Sparky to find a new guardian – a recently deceased person who cares enough about the city to want to watch over them.
And so your quest in I am dead really begins; find five dead by visiting places near them, uncover people’s memories of them, and possibly summon their spirits. In his heart, I am deads gameplay is very similar to a hidden object game; after listening to a memory, you will be tasked with finding an object around which the memory was based. Once you’ve gathered enough items, you can then use them to summon a spirit.
To find an object, you have to walk a small area, look inside the objects, twist and rotate them to inspect them completely. In death Morris acquired the ability to “slice” objects; essentially, he can see inside anything without needing to open it or interact with it. Want to know what’s inside a dresser? Just focus on it, then use your controller’s triggers to ‘mute’ it. You will have to do this over and over again to find all the relevant items to move the story forward. It can be tedious and the act of searching becomes repetitive, but luckily each item is never very difficult to locate.
Outside of the main story, there are plenty of other items to find, which gives the finalists a reason to significantly extend the game’s runtime by around three hours. Known as the “Grenkins,” tiny spirits reside all over Shelmerston, and every area you explore has a number to locate. They will be hidden in objects, but to find them you will have to rotate them and cut them out. just right. Some are easy to find – you’ll find a number of them accidentally as you progress through the game – although others are very tricky, requiring a lot of trial, error, and patience to figure them out.
There is a second foreign challenge to I am dead, too much; one that can be completely missed during the entire game. As you interact with posters dotted around the game, you will come across a character called Mr. Whitstable. It will give you a series of puzzles that will lead you to discover other objects hidden in the environment. They don’t add anything to the story – you can complete the game without ever spotting one of these posters if you’re just focusing on the task at hand – but they’re a nice addition for those who want to get involved. I am deadthe world on a deeper level.
And it’s really a world that you’ll want to engage with as much as possible. From a robot-run yoga retreat lighthouse to a species of fish that lives happily alongside humans, I am dead continually surprises and rejoices at how far-fetched it can get. It’s clear you’re in the realm of fantasy right off the bat – your protagonist is a spirit after all – but this game is never afraid to take that fantasy even further. Despite being anchored in a framework that seems quite believable, I am dead revel in suspending your disbelief and taking you to a world that is both familiar and completely different from yours.
It’s just a shame that you can’t really explore this world on your own terms. Only excerpts from it are shown to you, as required by the story. Each spirit Morris must discover occupies a very specific part of Shelmerston – the lighthouse, the harbor, the campsite – and so, while you may explore each of these areas a bit for a while, you will never be able to walk freely from it. one side of Shelmerston to the other, or see how each of these little areas relate to each other. It’s not a dealbreaker, but it does I am deadthe procedures sometimes seem fragmented. It also means that if you don’t collect all the Grenkins in an area or find Mr. Whitstable, you won’t be able to go back once you move on to the next part of the story.
However, there is a good chance that you won’t notice it or care too much about it, as you will be engrossed in it. I am dead, learning about Shelmerston residents past and present. Every memory you discover is delightfully told by a diverse yet talented voice. You will immerse yourself in stories of rare seagulls, fish who love toast, longtime lovers who met in their childhood. Everyone comes together to paint a bright and vibrant picture of a lively, breathing city filled with colorful people who all live their own lives. It is also a loving reminder that our loved ones never really leave us; the people who are dear to us continue to live in our memories.
It’s the story and the world around you that will make you play I am dead. The actual gameplay – searching for items by manipulating your surroundings – can feel pretty monotonous pretty quickly. If anything, I am dead looks like a more mature and evolved take on the hidden object genre, and so it won’t appeal to everyone. But thanks to wonderfully told stories and a bizarre but delicious mix of fantasy and grounded reality, it’s a short adventure that’s fun while it lasts.
I am dead Review: GameSpew’s score