Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
Too many games are so terrified of me not understanding everything that they spew nonsense at me about their world, their characters, their story, and their magic/technology/I don’t care. For some reason, many video games believe that we’re incapable of understanding something we didn’t see happen, that we’re incapable of inference. Huzzah, then, for Thirty Flights of Loving [official site].
Thirty Flights of Loving is a heist where you don’t see the heist, a betrayal where you don’t see the betrayal, and a love story where you don’t live through when it all fell apart. Non-linear storytelling and vignettes with cinematic tricks like smash cuts and time-lapse unfold this thriller in a fascinating order, slowly revealing little bits and trusting you’ll piece them together. It only takes fifteen minutes, but is beautifully paced with seemingly endless quiet moments crashing into chase sequences.
You may not pick everything up immediately, but the game still rolls on happily – you always have a path to continue on, and you may stumble blindly down that for reasons you won’t understand until later. Another playthrough really helped me to notice details like key characters lurking in the background, or have sudden awful realisations about what a scene actually meant. Clear graphics and atmospheric environments tie it all together.
It’s more thrilling, funny, romantic, and tragic than many games manage in fifteen hours. It’s nice to be trusted. Celebrate small games doing small things well.