Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
How can one describe Rat Chaos? It is the light bleeding through your eyelids on a hangover. It is the creeping awareness of a strange man following you everywhere, with a balloon. It is the raucous noise of a military cafeteria when you drop your dinner tray on the floor, you foolish, foolish person.
It’s also a very funny game. Not to mention our “47th best free game on PC”
At first glance (and probably second and third glances) it’s a throwaway twine game. Finished in a matter of minutes. But what few minutes. Navigate its branching madness and you will witness some of the most wondrous barbarisms ever dealt to the English language, comparable only to the dilapidated translations of English As She Is Spoke.
It’s videogame stream-of-consciousness. On the face of it, it’s about a spaceship captain, chicken dinners, catastrophic flooding and a rat (who is also a city). It’s this last character who leaves a lasting impression on the survivor of rat chaos. New Rat City is a melancholic and hungry personplace and, if probed enough, will begin to treat you almost as its own personal therapist. It even won an award for “Best Individual NPC” in 2012, despite having just a handful of dialogue.
If nothing else, play it for the language. When bad things happen, “the fun balloons burst”. When you go down the right path, you are awarded “GOOD END.” But of course, no end is really Good End. I highly recommend it, not least because it’s now playable again after vanishing for a few years, thanks to the hosting of Robert Yang. Go play. In the words of its creator, Kat Chastain: “No one should wait as long as I did to unleash rat chaos.”