The Ugly Monster
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The Ugly Monster

Playing Every Game in the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality

PEGBRJE: you used to be someone and Panmorphia

Images never looked so clean.

The faucet will now take the order.

‘you used to be someone’ is a narrative adventure created by Dietrich ‘Squinky’ Squinkifer, the developer that brought the musical adventures of Dominique Pamplemousse earlier in the bundle. This time, nothing so magical is going to happen. Instead, the player will be taking a small walk through the night in the hopes of feeling something.

Based on real events the developer had gone through, players will wake up in their apartment and feel the need to go outside in the hopes of finding some kind of inspiration or motivation. Whether wandering around the apartment or outside, players will be able to interact with the various doors and objects to get knowledge and opinions. There is no true ‘goal’ per say, but to simply explore the night life before returning to the apartment to end the game.

As indicated by the title, and the sheer lack of excitement in the voice of our narrator, ‘you used to be someone’ is about experiencing the apathy towards life that comes with a major depressive episode. Wandering around outside gives that small window in to their life as they lament just how pointless many things seem. The use of appliances, the need to socialize, the desire to go outside of the apartment is all met with a general uninterested shrug.

The forced perspective and strange use of imagery feels disconcerting, yet understandable in the context of the motion. What makes it so compelling is the constant pangs of regret and disappointment which furthers the emotional weight of sadness. The protagonist has memories of enjoying these things, like playing instruments, pretending to socialize and even cooking good food. There’s a sense that there was something worth enjoying and pouring oneself in to, yet it seems to have vanished. Everything the player does in the hopes of feeling better is met with cynicism, before acceptance to do the ‘thing’ only to be followed by a lack of change. It’s this cycle that many with depression or depressive episodes have highlighted as so dangerous because it can be so hard to break.

Before the pandemic, I would have said that ‘you used to be someone’ is a simple yet effective way of giving people a window in to Squinky’s past experiences and hopefully empathize with what depression can cause. I probably would have passed it off as something I had yet to truly experience outside of media. Unfortunately, the pandemic has given many that direct experience of being locked in their houses and unable to change nor do anything, giving a taste of just how brutal and important mental health can be. I would say ‘fortunately’, but I don’t think there are many in the world that would wish this reality on anyone.

For those who wish to experience this, ‘you used to be someone’ is here.

Time to venture through the woods.

Panmorphia is a point and click adventure created by LKMAD, an indie studio known for their breathtaking art. To showcase this, players will be born a sentinel, one who is tied to the four elements of Panmorphia and is able to transform. As luck would have it, players are unable to return home as the portal closes behind them. They must find out how to use these powers for themselves.

Panmorphia will allow players to venture throughout this mysterious and lush environment as point and clicks usually do, interacting with areas of the screen that have passageways to go to new environments. Objects can be acquired from the environment — indicated by how their art slightly emphasizes them against the background — and can be used to solve puzzles that are littered throughout the forest. The simplest of puzzles involve finding items and slotting them where they are needed. The more complex utilize multiple items, journal entries and in-universe puzzles to solve. For example, there’s an instance where players need to get a block to exit a map in a Rush Hour styled puzzle just to unlock a door.

What makes Panmorphia so easy to fall in to is how gorgeous the game is to look at, and how many ways the game allows the player to view it. The environments have been crafted to be as realistic as possible, with a lovely serenade to go in the background. Once players get past the initial puzzles, they’ll be able to morph in to animals to view the world they had explored in new lights. Soar like a bird. Swim like a fish. Panmorphia gives players the ability to see the world in different ways. Many puzzles are also hidden in plain sight, but cannot be seen until they take a new form.

Panmorphia is a beautiful showcase of how to incorporate multiple ways of performing a point and click adventure thanks to its ability to morph and solve dozens of puzzles. The map is extremely handy at helping players understand where they are, while giving little hints as to where they are able to go.

The lack of indicators is a bit of a pain, causing me to have multiple unintentional movements as I clicked near enough to a path when I’m trying to select an item. The easy mode solves this by giving indicators for all items, which I turned on after a bit of confusion. It’s completely optional though. If you are a super adventure wizard who feels no need for an easy mode, by all means leave it off and enjoy the wonderful imagery.

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Jacob Vorstenbosch

Jacob Vorstenbosch

Just a Game Dev who decided to take on the monumental task of giving an overview of all 59 pages in the bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. We keep going.

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VON GUAPO IS TAKING OVER! — DJ Renaldo Creative | DJ, Music Producer & Journalist