WebWatch: The final countdown

 
 

What would you do with your last week on earth? Matthew Jones examines his priorities in this free online game

If you had just six days left to live, what would you do? Would you loot the city or spend time with your family? Now what if you were the scientist who created the plague and there is a slim chance that you could save everyone?

One Chance poses that problem to the player. The story begins with you celebrating the miracle cure for cancer, but festivities are short-lived. Six days after you start, the entire planet will have been wiped out by your own cure.

The developer, AwkwardSilenceGames, has said that he wanted to explore the concept of permanency in games, and to get players to really think about their choices. Guilt and responsibility often go hand-in-hand, but it’s entirely up to the player themselves how they react to their mistakes. They can decide to do everything they can at their own cost and make things right, or simply accept the status quo and shrug their shoulders.

This idea of permanency holds true in the game, as you have only one chance to play the game. Just the one. If you reload the page, restart your computer or even wait a few months, a retry button will not appear.

Generally in a day, you get one choice of things to do, as well as conversations to have with the other characters. Do you choose to work steadily as the world crumbles around you? Or do you spend time with your family and offer words of support to your team? The point is that of all the endings, you only ever get to see one.

As you slowly see the world collapsing around you, with car crashes, protesters, and withering trees, you can’t help but get drawn into the world. The choices you make also affect you. After playing the game for some time, exploring its world and talking to all its inhabitants, my character returned home to find that his family had been killed, because he had been away working diligently and wasn’t there to protect them.

It is that concept which draws you in. Since you don’t know the effects which your choices will have, it feels more real. Of course the real fun is comparing your endings with your friends – my character ended up dying alone on a park bench, whereas my friend’s died in the lab after his family left him. And another one of my friends eventually found the cure, after his had wife committed suicide and the rest of the planet died.

It is an interesting idea: more of an experiment than a game. And it allows you to actually answer the question: ‘Could you save the world?’ So what if it’s not real life.

Play One Chance at http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/555181

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