Day 978: Office Affairs

Posted: 2013/07/15 in Indie Games

I cannot tell you how shocked I am that I am reviewing this. It’s from the developer who punked all us all with “Game 35” that, despite its title and a promising-sounding premise, contains *no* actual gameplay. After that experience I swore off them. Or I thought I had. I relented recently and reviewed “Fatal Seduction”, which impressed me with its genuinely creepy and well-written story. And perhaps I’m a glutton for punishment, because here I am giving them another chance with the (not very promisingly titled) “Office Affairs”. Looking like an Ashley Madison ad, with a description to match, this looked like Silver Dollar at their worst. But, and there’s always a but, it actually turned out to be innovative and enjoyable. Who would have thunk it?

Now don’t get me wrong, Silver Dollar can make good games. “Blow” is one of the best in the indie games channel (though Silver Dollar says they simply “got lucky” with it), “Mirror” is another top indie game, “RAID” impressed me by being a tactical version of “Into the Eagles Nest”, and even “Head Shot Z” is decent. But whereas I buy almost everything Milkstone Studios does, there are a lot of cringe-worthy games from Silver Dollar.

“Office Affairs” is not cringe-worthy. It is essentially a “Choose Your Own Adventure” kind of story, but with the addition of moderate (and I do mean moderate) gameplay. At the beginning of the game you jump off the top of a building, and from there the story starts unfolding. You are periodically given the opportunity to make choices that affect the story, and replays can have the story turning out quite differently each time. The game is fully narrated in English (not sure about other languages and, if so, whether they’re dubbed or subtitled), and the voice acting is surprisingly good.

What about those moderate levels of gameplay? Well, you are dodging bits of office detritus throughout, and failing to dodge them will reduce your health; there are opportunities to increase your health by trying to manoeuvre your depressed suicide-afflicted character sufficiently close to women he finds attractive (not entirely PC, but more PC than how you restored health in GTA III). It’s worth 80 Microsoft Points if you think of it as an interactive story that has actually managed to devise a system to keep your fingers busy while the story plays out, with decent presentation and replay value. Just ignore the hideous box-art and description, and (as with all Silver Dollar titles) definitely try the free trial first.

Here’s what the developer (Silver Dollar Games Inc._0) has to say about the game:

“Life is short.”

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