(Not A) Game Review – There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension

Welcome, reader, to this small corner of the internet! I know you are here to read a game review, but I must confess… I have no game to review. I know, you must be disappointed, but fear not! I instead come to you with something that is absolutely not a game. This… er… program I’d like to review is called There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension, based on the first-place entry of the Deception Jam 2015 contest, There Is No Game… which I must add was also not a game. That non-game is free to not play on Newgrounds, by the way.

The story of this non-game follows two characters: yourself, and the Narrator, also known as Game. You act as the User, obsessively tinkering with everything in reach. It starts out simple, as the Narrator just wants you to leave his world alone. Your meddling goes a bit too far, however, and you accidentally send both yourself and the Narrator spiraling across the gaming multiverse, in the process awakening the chaotically evil Mr. Glitch. Now, you must team up and find a way home, discovering long-forgotten secrets along the way.

This is primarily a point-and-click puzzle adventure, one that frequently requires the User to think outside the box. Without spoiling too much, some examples to solutions include stealing letters from text boxes, collecting objects from background images, and messing around with game interfaces. The dimensions you explore in each chapter are unique, and the quirky side cast continually brings in new character dynamics and developments. Holmes and Watson in particular are great, as are the recurring characters GiGi and Mr. Glitch.

As a comedic work, Draw Me A Pixel (the developer) really nailed it. The User’s arbitrary tendency to destroy everything with a hitbox lends itself well to comedy, as does the Narrator’s helpless exasperation. The side cast opens up even more comedic opportunities, and they often aren’t even trying to be funny, it just naturally happens as a result of strict adherence to their code. Almost every joke lands, none of it really feels forced.

While it is mainly comedic, it also gets surprisingly emotional as you progress further. (Spoilers Ahead) You begin the non-game with the express intent of being a nuisance, but by the end of the fifth chapter, you actually start to feel bad for the guy. After he’s already gone through so much, you come along and start breaking what little he has left… you may be the protagonist, but you’re not exactly the good guy here, not with the way you’ve been acting this whole time.

As good as this non-game is, a few points about it could use a bit of improvement. For one thing, it’s pretty obvious that English isn’t the first language of the developer. The grammar tends to be a bit off at certain places, and some of the lines (“Wherefore art thou GiGi” being the most obvious instance) are mispronounced. It’s never that bad though, and in most cases it’s more endearing than anything else. The Narrator, voiced by developer Pascal Cammisotto, is instantly made more memorable by way of the man’s unique accent; though he’s French, he also has a vaguely Russian inflection, a point which becomes a running gag.

Another point I have issues with is in the way the ga… non-game provides hints. I appreciate the optional hints you can unlock, those helped me out multiple times. However, these aren’t the only hints you get, the Narrator occasionally provides hints as he talks. Sometimes, they’re subtle. Other times, he just straight-up spoils the solution, and you don’t even get the chance to try working through it yourself. It can get a bit annoying, but it doesn’t happen often… and when it does, it’s at least in-character.

Also, with how much we’ve been annoying him, it’s only fair he gets to annoy us back a bit. While we’re talking about dialogue, one other thing: you may end up cutting voice lines off prematurely if you advance too fast. Just take your time and have fun, don’t go for a speedrun on your first attempt.

I don’t normally buy games online. I tend to be rather picky, and I don’t like to buy something unless I’m absolutely sure I’ll get good mileage out of it. My budget simply doesn’t allow me to spend on a whim, especially not on something I can’t try beforehand. I had the confidence to get There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension because of its free predecessor, and also because there was a Steam sale at the time. I must say, I do not regret getting this non-game.

It lives up to the standard set by There Is No Game, and then some. Aside from the previously mentioned issues, I had a good time the whole way though. The music and songs really fit the intended mood well, the story is entertaining, the mechanics are inventive, and its core concept is really well executed. It doesn’t have much in the way of completionist rewards, but there are some Steam achievements you can go for, as a little something extra. It may not be a game, but I enjoyed it all the same.

Pristine Condition