Hell Is Other People, But Also Yourself: suteF

By Quintin Smith on January 25th, 2011 at 11:31 am.

And now, a story of betrayal, perseverance, a fetus, and a bear that is a computer and who goes by the name of Computer Bear. suteF by indie developer Rotten Tater is the most admirably messed-up game I’ve played in ages. It’s also an inventive, clever and strikingly competent puzzle game. You want to play this. I’ve amassed a thought-cache after the jump.

Delicacy is required when talking about suteF’s story, not entirely because of spoilers but because the more specific I try and get, the more likely I am to mislead you. Basically, your pudgy blue avatar is not well. He is trying to find his way out, or through, a Hell of some kind, and meets various life-forms along the way. Lots of the things you meet along the way are friendly, at least initially. And lots of the these things strike a resemblance to you. A little too much of a resemblance. The end result is something as unsettling as the 3am trip from your bedroom to the bathroom with the images and figments of a ghost story slinking around your head.

I should also mention that the puzzles are pretty sharp, and a elevated into excellence by suteF’s eagerness to surprise you at any given moment. You’ll have just figured out what you need to do and the puzzle will shift, elongate or end abruptly, a move that I’m sure will be anathema to some schools of puzzle design, but simply entertains me. In this respect, suteF really reminds me of Cactus’ Psychosomnium, which you should also investigate if you get the chance. You can get that here.

Curiously, I’m now looking at Rotten Tater’s list of previous games and seeing that a couple of his other works, Descent and Fetus, also put a little clutzy blue man under your control as he’s taunted by intangible monsters. I guess that’d make suteF the result of several years of practice into this odd genre, a school of indie development I’d never really considered. Why not simply make the same game over and over, and letting it become progressively complex, polished and pretty as your skill as a designer improves? Answer me! Why not?

Anyway, yes. Play suteF. That is all.

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20 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    drewski says:

    I’ll play it, sure, but I expect to rage quit out of the first level within five minutes.

  2. Dozer says:

    Shouldn’t it be called suteoF?

  3. Hoaxfish says:

    It’s a good game. I got stuck on a couple of bits, so I then played Fetus instead… then came back and worked it out.

    A lot of the puzzles solve themselves, simply but given you no other options (e.g. two laser beams of death vs one pushable block in the other direction)

  4. Premium User Badge

    drewski says:

    Well, I lasted a half hour or so until I came to a level where, if entered wrong, you get stuck in a death-reload-death spiral.

    Then I rage quit.

    • CMaster says:

      If you mean perma-falling, just press R.
      Not sure how otherwise you could get stuck, as you always spawn at the same place with the level reset as far as I could tell.

  5. Giant, fussy whingebag says:

    Wow.

    If David Lynch made games instead of films, they would be like this, except probably not as good…

  6. CMaster says:

    Very odd.
    I gather the choice you make on “choices” actually matters, incidentally – some reports of people getting different named/laid out levels.

    Yeah, no idea what it means if anything, perhaps just meant to be an odd fever dream. Anyone know if it is possible to play in The Void?
    Also, as said above, most of the while all you have to do is take the one possible actyion that won’t kill you.

    • Waltorious says:

      @CMaster,

      As far as I know, it is not possible to play The Void. That was initially planned for inclusion but the author decided it didn’t really add anything to the game so he didn’t put it in. There ARE, however, eight secret levels known as the “Void Rim” levels. If you manage to complete one of these, you will see one of the eight lights light up on the level selection screen. You can use those to keep track of which Void Rim levels you’ve found. Those who did not find the standard levels that challenging will enjoy the Void Rim levels which are generally a lot harder to figure out.

      These secret levels are probably the “choices” you mention… although there are a few places with choices that don’t lead to secret levels that I have not fully investigated (i.e. I don’t know if making the other choice changes anything in the game).

    • CMaster says:

      Just putting in a few words of general chatter to avoid spoilering. Got to say I hadn’t picked up many choices beyond the “who lives/dies” that weren’t just suceed/fail.
      I came across Void Rim VIII I think at some point in part D. Took me about as long to figure that one out as other entire chapters did. Extra text to fix to quick bug.

    • Premium User Badge

      phlebas says:

      Hang on. You’re saying that level I spent ages stuck on last night was a secret optional one I needn’t have done? Gah!

    • BooleanBob says:

      Stuck on Void Rim VII and it’s driving me a bit mental.

      Speaking of potentially (in)consequential choices, I was being taunted by the.. well, whatever it is after the puzzle titled ‘Stage D’ (part of the series that follow after the fall) and I decided in an act of defiance/flippancy to turn back the way I’d came. I was pretty shocked to find the developer had anticipated this and the game presented me with a little dialogue and a right-to-left oriented ‘Stage E’.

      As Waltorious notes though there’s little way of knowing whether the choice is significant without playing it again, and given my stubbornness regarding this Void Rim puzzle there’s no guarantee I’ll make it through the once.

  7. Wilson says:

    Fun game. I really liked the graphical style and atmosphere. It didn’t force it on you with too much plot, which I think made it more interesting.

  8. Theory says:

    I got to chapter D, chaos, but the fucking thing didn’t save my progress. Has anyone got a save from that point? It’s a great game and I’d love to finish it.

    Edit: redid it, wasn’t so bad. I did hit a bit of poor feedback where I was crushed by a flipped crate instantly and didn’t realise the cause…thought it was scripted failure.

  9. RagingLion says:

    I’m stuck on Wasteland in chapter D. Don’t really know what to do after pushing the first crate that you have to.

    This is a great game though. It’s really engaging me and I’m interested to see where it goes.

    • JackShandy says:

      Ditto. I can tell what I have to do, but figuring out how is driving me mad. Does anyone know how to finish it/ has a link to a walkthrough?

    • Theory says:

      You’ve got to push the far left box to the left by walking off the edge. The button it hits will create somewhere for you to land.

      It’s the one unfair moment in the whole game. :-/

  10. noom says:

    Incredibly stuck on a level called [Shaft] in Chapter D. Just after Void Rim VIII I think. My options are fall off left side of platform into laser, or fall of right side of platform into laser. I literally cannot see anything else to do.

    I also perhaps did secret levels instead of “proper” levels for Chapter C.

    Whatever the case, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed playing this. Has a nice ST/Amiga era vibe to it, particularly in the sounds.

  11. parm says:

    So, I’ve played it, finished it, enjoyed it – but I’m not entirely sure I understood it. Either I’m trying to read too much into it, or I’m not reading enough into it, but either way I don’t really feel I followed what was going on. Or maybe not following what was going on is the point? I dunno. Cute, anyway, and filled a couple of hours.

  12. Gpig says:

    Finally got around to trying this. Man if you just wait to play a bunch of really good indie games at once it makes it seem like a really good week. It’s weird to think that games like this could have existed back in the NES and SNES era but just never did…or maybe I’m just selectively forgetting to hype up the present, not sure. Either way the subtly presented story with the heavy atmosphere made the puzzles much more fun. Having something pop up or the puzzles change to a new puzzle in an ice world isn’t an anathema. It’s a sign of high level of polish that takes a good puzzle game and makes it great. Said puzzle 4 times in 3 sentences.