I am extremely busy. There are ten thousand things about which I wish I could blog. This game lasted 92 minutes and can be easily dispensed with, so it takes priority.

It's called The World After, and I got it a Steam sale or two ago. I played it because I was browsing a Steam sale recommendations thread but started feeling guilty about the massive amount of short games that I've bought but either haven't played or have left unfinished. I wanted a movie-like experience with which to relax one hectic evening, and according to How Long to Beat, this fit the bill, so off we go.

It's French. It's a pandemic game. A Parisian writer who's quarantined himself in the countryside is having nightmares about being caught in some kind of loop. Well, quarantine was like that. One morning, he finds a photo of a nearby castle slipped under his door with a note challenging him to come hither for no discernible reason, but having nothing better or suitably socially-distanced to do during the plague, off he sets.

But even that is too much about the plot, as slight as it is, because the story's really kind of nonsense, and the little that manages to be coherent is wholly derivative. You're here for the presentation: smooth 4K FMV of a dude walking through the beautiful French countryside with minimal puzzle resistance.

On that note, it delivers. I can't call it honest-to-goodness "good" in the traditional sense, but it's very pretty and admirable in an "I want to document my beloved home environment in an interactive format that others can experience" manner (see: the Carol Reed games). Sometimes, just wandering through a pretty environment with minimal frustration for a brief time is enough.

(Those cows run away when you approach them.)

With no meat on the narrative bone, though, this is more a game of moments.

The quarantine setting means every cast member wears masks, which conveniently limits the need for lip-flap-matching in the English dub track.

(For this event, you also get five successive dialogue options that are variations of "Come ooooooon!" with more and more o's.)

Not hand sanitizer, but enjoy Larry.

You make hand sanitizer out of aloe vera and a discarded bottle of vodka you find on the side of the road.

At one point, the main character can eat "rusk," which evidently is the UK term for something like crispbread but sure looks like graham crackers.

There's a Gabriel Knight reference, I understand, if you attempt to attack your shadow with your crowbar in this sequence.

Not an alien mask with light-up eyes, but enjoy the protagonist's hostility to fetch quests.

It also features - and this is kind of spoiling the turn in subject matter here, but it's noteworthy - a creature portrayed by an honest-to-goodness Halloween alien mask with light-up eyes like those compound work lights with numerous little bump-like lights inside. It's satisfying in the innocent fakey way 1950s monster movie props are.

The sole determinant of whether you get the good or bad ending is whether you grab the gun in the above case early on or not. I, like any red-blooded American, grabbed the gun, as there was no immediate indication that being armed was a bad idea, as in Little Hope. This is a European game, though, and so firearms are not the answer.

In the "bad" ending, though, instead of the non-resolution to the not-plot, you're treated to video of the main character back at home eating rusk/graham crackers and cream cheese. Which arguably is the better denouement.

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