GAME: Lone Survivor
PRODUCER: Superflat Games
YEAR OF RELEASE: 2012
Earlier I found the perfect image to describe my gaming experience with Lone Survivor.
Other than that, it’s kind of a difficult game to describe. You play as a young man in a surgical mask, stranded in a zombie-infested apartment block. Your name is literally You, which might be funny under any other circumstances.
You’ve somehow survived a horrible plague that left the rest of the city as shambling, faceless mutant things. As much as you want to just stay in your apartment forever, you’re running low on food, and you have to escape from your building and into what’s left of the real world. Of course, that’s much easier said than done.
From the start, the game seems intent on messing with your head. Weird tunnels appear out of nowhere, monsters roam the halls, and you’ve somehow misplaced the key to your bathroom in an entirely different apartment. A good 50% of the game is spent just trying to make it out of the building alive. And then there’s the whole question of whether any of this is really happening in the first place, because you’re not exactly the most healthy individual.
As if that wasn’t enough, you also have to manage your food and sleep. Think the Sims, if the Sims was survival horror. If you go too long without rest, the screen starts to flicker and blur like a broken TV, and weird stuff starts happening.
Food is scattered everywhere, but not all of it is GOOD food– if you want to survive and stay relatively okay, you have to avoid eating things like rats and dried squid. (Seriously, somebody left dried squid all over your apartment. It’s insane.) You can defend yourself from faceless terrors with a pistol you find early on, but it takes a lot to kill one, and you probably have more dried squid than bullets. The only light source you have is a flashlight with really iffy batteries. Naturally, you’re going to run out of both ammo and batteries at critical moments. Not to spoil too much, but the game takes care of that in some rather unique ways.
It’s a short game, but it manages to cram a LOT of weird stuff into just a couple hours of playtime. It’s also emotionally draining as heck, at least for me. I found myself getting way too attached to the main character. He’s kind of adorably chipper for somebody who’s alone in the world and most likely going insane.
I just wanted him to have a happy ending somehow, but the way the game was going, I couldn’t really see that happening. Of course I’m not going to spoil anything by saying if I was right or not. Depending on how you choose to survive, you can get one of three different endings. The one I got was…well, like I said, I don’t want to spoil anything. But it may have ripped my heart into a bunch of tiny little pieces.
It’s just that kind of game.