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Game Review #120: Drowning (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Frankie W.

Developer: Polygonal Wolf

Publisher: Sometimes You

Category: Adventure, Simulation, Other

Release Date: 01.30.2019

Price (at time of review): $2.99

Buy Drowning from the Nintendo eShop here.

Walk With Me…

I am so not a fan of walking simulators. I tend to think there are far more engaging ways to tell a story than a nearly straight line from start to finish, with dialogue or voices accompanying you the whole way as a sort of visual storytelling experience. I never would have thought I’d be intrigued by one with no dialogue to speak of, just text popping up as an inner monologue as our main character figures out what he needs to. The subject matter is what caused this to resonate with me, as it’s something I think we all deal with occasionally, that matter being depression.

Drowning starts with a sunny day on a grassy path with big trees lining the way. The graphics are simple yet pleasing, the colors are vibrant and stand out against the backdrop. As you make your way down the path, you read the story of the main character meeting someone, someone they thought would have their best interest in them. As you continue down, it becomes more and more apparent that this “person” isn’t a person, but a feeling. A personification of this person's depression, always reminding them they aren't enough, that they ruin people's day, that no one is genuine with them.

You Are Not Alone

As someone who grew up with a multitude of issues that I’ve had to sort through, I get it when I read this. It was thoughts I’ve wrestled with in the past, and only just recently I’ve had my own depression flare up and had to remember how I dealt with it in the past. This game isn’t a cry for help, it's more a message to people struggling, letting you know that you aren’t alone. Other people have felt this way and there is a way past it. It's a great thing to remind people of, because no one wants to feel alone in this world with your feelings, and Drowning is here to show you that you are not alone!

You start out in Year 8, and you gradually progress through your character’s life. Year 9, and all of the events that can impact one's mental health in a year growing up in your formative years. You note as you feel better, and you think your passenger is gone, but it always comes back and you start to believe it. Large events in one's life can trigger things like this, and those certainly happen in this person's life. Year 10, things seem a little darker all around. The colors don’t pop as much, the light less present. This continues on for a couple more years where the game reaches its climax so to speak. I’ll leave that one for you to explore and experience.

Wrapping Up

This game has a good soundtrack to accompany the story you are reading along the path as well, with nice sounding piano matching the moods presented. All in all, this experience lasts about 30-45 minutes. I did actually notice a random candy cane at one point that I seemed to be able to collect, so there may be some more time if you wish to hunt those all down! And well, if that was the only one I am not sure what it meant, if anything. This game is only $2.99, and while some people may not care for it at all, I think it sends a good message to people who need to hear it, and I know there are some people out there who truly would benefit from taking the less than an hour it takes to play this game. There isn’t much game here to speak of, but it’s a nice little run nonetheless.

Score: 5/10

Buy Drowning from the Nintendo eShop here.

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*Review Code Provided by Sometimes You

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