Teenagers are just the worst, and I know how much that makes me sound like a cranky old man. They’re at that horrible age where they know some things, so they think they know everything. At one point I was a teenager, and I too was guilty of being a faux-intellectual and obnoxiously “edgy,” although I had the good sense to grow out of it. The reason I bring this up is because I Want To Be Human; an insufferable game, that reminds me a lot of when I was in highschool: kind of fun, but mostly obnoxious and a lot less clever than it thinks it is.
I Want To Be Human tells the story of a boy who falls in love with a vampire girl in a world where love has been outlawed. When their crime is discovered, they’re captured by “the man” and subjected to genetic experimentation turning the boy into a sentient hat. They break free, arm themselves with a shotgun and decide to take the fight back to “the man.” This kind of story really annoys me because for all the Steam page boasting about how unique the story is, it’s the same generic shlock that comes out of the diary of every pre-teen who hangs out around Hot Topic. Not only that, but the story itself has no direction. There’s no sense of narrative flow throughout the game and you’re never given a clear sense of who the characters are, who badguys are, why they’re doing what they’re doing, why love is outlawed; it’s just a jumbled mess.
Gameplay is equally as obnoxious. It’s a pretty standard 2D platformer, but it lacks the refinement of the better games it’s trying emulate. The shotgun feels restrictive to the fairly quick movement, with a limited range and a noticeable delay between firing and would be better served with a Contra style machine gun. Furthermore, certain gameplay elements are simply not explained and not implemented very well. Players are never told that they activate a glide after a double jump, which left me wondering why my movement was suddenly slowed to such a degree. Players are given a dash ability, which seems pointless given how rigid the level design is. The wall jump is particularly annoying bearing much resemblance to Megaman X in the way you immediately latch to the wall and slowly descended. However unlike Megaman X, rather than jumping more vertically than outwardly, which would better suit the “run-and-gun” gameplay, I Want To Be Human does the latter, making platforming annoying and destroys any chance the player could have at gaining a tactical advantage.
It’s not the most competently put together game either. It’s aesthetically unpleasing coming off incredibly busy as things in the foreground shake all over the place or at times completely obscure the camera. Enemy placement doesn’t seem indicative to level design, and levels themselves are fairly boring, coupled with a world map that feels completely disjointed and offers no sense of progression. And while the game also offers controller support for both Xbox One and PS4 controllers, on-screen prompts are always those of an Xbox controller, and when using a PS4 controller, the control scheme changes completely, with no indication to the player.
What annoys me the worst is just how pretentious the whole thing is. There’s all this talk on the Steam store about Sinclair Strange’s “unique art style” when it’s just a cheap recreation of Johnen Vasquez’s work, namely Invader Zim and JTHM. There’s all this boasting about the “off-the-wall,” “tongue-in-cheek” humor but nothing about it’s humor is actually tongue-in-cheek, nor is it off the wall. it’s not trying to push any envelopes, make any statements, or do anything that might be considered satire. It’s just lazy, crude humor that thinks blood and guts is still edgy, complemented with the hat-boy delivering hilarious lines like “tampon,” “asswipe,” and “you suck at life” after kills, which doesn’t fit the over jovial tone the game is trying to have as enemies say “you smell like onions.” It’s about as tame as these attempts at “random” humour get, thinking the very idea that someone calling someone a tampon is OFF THE WALL OUTRAGEOUS!
I Want To Be Human is a bad game trying so hard to be Hot Topic cool that it actually annoys me. I’ve played games equally as edgy, but at least they were well designed and thought out (see The Dishwasher). I Want To Be Human? Well I wanted to play good games!
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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