Title: See No Evil
Publisher: Noetic Games
Developer: Gabriel Priske
Release Date: Out Now
A quintessentially indie puzzle game, See No Evil aims relatively low but manages to produce a polished title on the most shoestring budget. Anyone familiar with sequential problem solving games will recognise the game’s premise, as you are dropped into a strange location with a challenge to be mastered before being able to reach the exit and start it all over again.
The eponymous conceit of See No Evil is that non-player characters, both neutral and hostile, have varying degrees of blindness; they are only affected by the sounds you make. Helpfully, the game provides a visual representation of these sound waves, so simply walking across the screen will cause ripples to emanate from the user like disturbance on water.
Although your character is also able to shout, and thereby direct sound in a particular direction, it is not possible to directly affect the environment through sound alone. Instead, the player is reliant upon the AI’s response, such as the use of noise to disturb sleeping old men from their perches upon pressure sensitive buttons.
Such interactions are dependent upon the AI’s reaction, and the effects will typically operate in a narrow time window. Old men will return to their original positions, hermits will attempt to resume their patrols, and guards will take up their original sentry spots. As such, slightly unusual for the genre, many puzzles will be as much a test of dexterity as of logic. Fast reflexes will be key to both solving puzzles and avoiding death at the hands of your sightless pursuers.
These AI characters, the copious environment furniture and enigmatic narrator may leave you curious about the setting. Clues litter the game concerning your character, the “Seer”, and the reason for your unique position. The darkness that pervades the landscape, both literal and metaphorical, gives the environment a dream-like quality. Unfortunately, while See No Evil always seems on the verge of actually telling a story, it tends to opt instead for allegory. While this lends to the atmosphere, it can otherwise be largely discounted.
The graphics have a cartoonish quality that contrasts nicely with the melancholic mien, while the forced isometric camera means that the game is entirely two-dimensional. In spite of the inky abyss that envelops each level, it isn’t possible to fall to your death, and the game is entirely free from platforming.
The environment itself evolves as the game progresses, which provides refreshing variety, with additional features and enemies slowly introduced throughout. Much has been written about the quality of the score, further complimenting the atmosphere of the game.
See No Evil is an altogether charming title, albeit somewhat lightweight and simple in execution. Although there is no multiplayer, and little re-playability, this Kickstarter-funded project merits the attention of puzzle fans and casual gamers alike, highlighting the value posed by independent developers such as Gabriel Priske.