The Franz Kafka Videogame

*DISCLAIMER* The game was provided to me by the developer. This will not affect the review. *DISCLAIMER OVER*

Franz Kafka (3 July 1883–3 June 1924) was a Prague-German language novelist and short story writer, widely regarded as one of the major figures of 20th-century literature. His work, which fuses elements of realism and the fantastic, typically features isolated protagonists faced by bizarre or surrealistic predicaments and incomprehensible social-bureaucratic powers, and has been interpreted as exploring themes of alienation, existential anxiety, guilt, and absurdity. His best known works include The Metamorphosis, The Trial, and The Castle. But why am I telling you this? Because today we will be looking at The Franz Kafka Videogame, and I think that’s enough explanation. Let’s go.

First of all, it must be established that The Franz Kafka Videogame is not about Franz Kafka. Instead, the idea behind the game is to imagine what a Kafka-esque videogame would actually be like (but slightly less twisted), while containing references to his works.

Just your average day

The story follows a man named K, a doctor who uses hypnosis to treat his patients, but ends up embarking on a rather absurd adventure, as shown by the image to the left. The story may be weird at first, but later on in the game, it is still weird, just as expected from a Kafka-esque game. I will not describe much of it, as the game is quite short, so you will be able to experience it on your own in a few days. Instead, let’s talk about the gameplay. At first, The Franz Kafka Videogame might look like a point’n’click game, but it’s actually a traditional puzzle game (as much as you can call this game traditional). Every level is a single puzzle, which completely eliminates the need for saves, replacing it with a simple level select menu.

I was born in the wrong generation

The absurdity doesn’t stop at the story: it seeps into the puzzles, not just breaking the fourth wall, but eliminating its original creator, making sure it never even existed. As you might’ve guessed, the puzzles are extremely clever. Let me try and give you an example without ruining anything: the second puzzle involves K getting a letter, which looks like a QR code with some slidable parts. This, of course, makes the player think that you must make it into a QR code an scan it to reveal the solution. Pretty clever, isn’t it? Well, at first, the code doesn’t scan. The player thinks that the game is broken, not even glancing at the start and finish signs on the sides. It was never a QR code, it was a maze. All you had to do was make the path. It broke the fourth wall by not breaking it, and made you think lower of youself in the process. I do not think that I can say any more specifics without spoiling the experience. But we don’t want to make this review absurd by not inserting any pros and cons!

The Pros

  • The art style is completely unique.
  • Kafka’s influence is clearly visible.
  • As mentioned before, the save system is replaced with a simple level select screen.
  • You won’t see the puzzles like those in The Franz Kafka Videogame anywhere else.
  • Long enough to be enjoyable, but not too long to start getting tedious.

The Cons

  • The game did not seem to like ShareX very much, so taking screenshots was rather painful.
  • Some of the puzzles may be a bit unfair.

The score was here, but it disappeared. You took too long reading the text, so the score left. You will never find out if I liked the game.

Just kidding it’s 9.5 out of 10

Intro provided via Wikipedia

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