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Hell Is Other People, But Also Yourself: suteF

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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Quintin Smith

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