Non-Surreal Game

When looking through a library of games or a shop, searching for an interactive experience we would like to dive in next, we typically tend to skip games that are not visually compelling to us. We do not want to risk spending time (and money) on something we might not find enjoyable. This means that we miss out on a lot of great experiences, because they are not attractive on first glance. Hence, it is valuable from time to time to meet someone, who tells us: “Trust me, it probably doesn’t look like much, but it’s great. Play it!”

We miss out on a lot of great experiences, because they are not attractive at first glance.

In the case of Non-Surreal Game the person endorsing the game was the designer himself; Marvin Woelke of Now Known. Actually, he simply left a post on the Discord server of our local community: “The game is online now. For everyone who is interested, here’s the link.” It was not much of a recommendation, but I tend to play most of the games of our community members. A few days later I started up the game and played.

Doors (© Now Known)

I was surprised. Not once, not twice, but many many times. Non-Surreal Game is an exercise in being astonished by the most simple things over and over again: Walls being different than they originally appear, doors appearing and disappearing, rooms changing in size and dimension – not in a creepy way, but very playful and funny. It feels like being back in school and your best friend is playing a trick on you … and at the end you are both laughing.

It feels like being back in school and your best friend is playing a trick on you … and at the end you are both laughing.

In the end, I was very happy about having played this entertaining short story that so light-heartedly plays with space and perception; and also with the conventions many of us acquired playing video games. If you are looking at the screenshots thinking: “Nah, I don’t know.” Let me tell you: “Trust me, it probably doesn’t look like much, but it’s great. Play it!”

Clock (© Now Known)

Non-Surreal Game was created for Brackeys Game Jam 2022 and was received very well. It got the fifth place in the overall rating and ended up in first place for the category Theme. The game is completely free, but if you should feel like tossing Marvin a coin or two: A Buy Me A Coffee Link is right on the page.

This article is an extended version of the Indie Gem Corner section in our monthly newsletter, The Narrative Outlook. If you are interested in fresh news on narrative games and what our studio is up to, feel free to subscribe right on our website. If you would like to play Non-Surreal Game, head over to itch.io. Don’t forget to tell us about your favorite moment on our Discord.

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