HomeGame GuidesLand of Screens Review - Short, Sweet, But Not-So-Subtle

Land of Screens Review – Short, Sweet, But Not-So-Subtle

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Described by developer Serenity Forge as a “romcom adventure game,” Land of Screens is each charming and decidedly extra grounded than equally sentimental video games. While it examines the weighty course of of how we construct ourselves again up after struggling a loss, reasonably than sending gamers down the trail of introspection, it opts to be a bit extra simplistic and ship only one pertinent message: There’s a complete world exterior your cellphone display screen and also you would possibly simply be lacking it. However, in taking this strategy and focusing so totally on this one message, Land of Screens finally comes throughout a bit too reductive and preachy to ship it as subtly and powerfully because it may.

Land of Screens begins as life as Holland is aware of it involves an finish: After 5, lengthy years collectively, her associate has simply referred to as it quits on their relationship. Before she even has the time to course of her emotions and what this implies for her life, Holland finds herself pacing round her bed room eager about how others will course of the information, and thus begins to seek for the fitting strategy to share the information on social media. As she debates phrase selection and makes an attempt to search out the center floor between indifferent and devastated, she realizes she’s been tagged in her ex’s breakup announcement, which naturally results in a wave of feedback and dangerous emotions she’d reasonably ignore.

Desperate for some type of outlet, Holland racks her mind for somebody she will attain out to. However, it does not take lengthy for her to comprehend that–thanks to being in a snug relationship, her busy work schedule, and the arrival of social media–she’s failed to truly nurture her relationships in a significant means and feels a bit remoted. Holland finally decides to pay her ever-accommodating childhood greatest pal, Cody, a go to, tacking on a fast detour to her already busy weekend crammed with a piece convention and a household reunion. She shortly packs her issues and heads over to Cody’s residence, realizing a bit too late she forgot her charger and her cellphone is almost lifeless.

While Holland finds little methods to maintain her cellphone simply charged sufficient to achieve the locations she must go (and be reminded of her breakup), what ensues is a collection of conditions the place she is tasked with getting folks off their telephones to be able to foster connections and make folks a bit happier. These occasions take the form of brief, level-and-click on journey sections, whereby you will need to stroll round a given surroundings and determine methods to make folks lose curiosity of their tablets, telephones, and imitation Nintendo Switches. Each of the game’s handful of ranges requires a bit of gentle puzzle fixing as you discuss with of us and work together with objects in an try to determine what’s going to coax them away from the blue gentle’s glow. However, these puzzles–along with a lot of Land of Screens–suffer from one main disadvantage: They’re simply means too easy.

Land of Screens’ few puzzles require no strokes of cleverness or shut inspection to resolve. Instead, Holland should merely discuss to folks till they don’t have anything left to say and issues extra-or-much less work themselves out. While some simplicity is good, finally these duties find yourself feeling like small-scale fetch quests as you click on backwards and forwards between characters.

Holland laments about social media.

Even extra unlucky is that the game’s narrative additionally suffers a bit from the identical over-simplification drawback that makes every part really feel a bit too on-the-nostril We all know that for all the advantages and conveniences social media, the web, and know-how as a complete provide us, there are simply as many downsides. It’s all too straightforward to turn into dependent upon your digital gadgets and the validation of individuals who barely know you–it’s all too straightforward to commerce in real happiness and your capability to dwell within the second for the look of happiness and the power to submit about that second. The entirety of Land of Screens is spent trying to drive that time residence, however sadly the game does not go about it in a delicate or revolutionary means. At instances, it feels a bit extra just like the game is lecturing its characters (and also you) extra so than it is reflecting upon the difficulty in a sympathetic and insightful means.

Quite a bit of this stems from the game’s lack of nuance. All of Land of Screens’ on-line-obsessed characters come throughout as caricatures, from the selfie-obsessed health bro and canine-loving lady riddled by nervousness, to on-line trolls and the children on the household reunion who simply will not cease enjoying these darn video video games. In addition, all of the fascinating issues that might have been mentioned about how know-how is a software that may foster actual-life connections are left unstated. This is very fascinating contemplating Holland makes new mates on her journey that she intends to maintain in touch with through cellphone or social media, engages with individuals who use the web to work together with others/discover occasions to attend, and speaks to folks affected by social nervousness. While the game’s core message is completely true–we are too reliant on social media on the expense of forming actual connections to our others and ourselves–the means it goes about speaking about it feels barely belittling.

Holland and Nora have a heart-to-heart.
Holland and Nora have a coronary heart-to-coronary heart.

There is an plain sweetness, nonetheless, to Land of Screens. A big half of this comes from the game’s mushy and wonderful vector artwork model, which provides a youthfulness and attraction you possibly can’t assist however admire. The message, whereas not expertly executed, can be extremely earnest, and Holland’s journey to rekindle her relationships additionally results in some tender moments which may make us rethink our personal strategy to {our relationships} in addition to the place we draw our sense of self-value from.

Ultimately, it’s these interactions that may have elevated the game and supplied extra emotional depth in the event that they had been leaned right into a bit tougher. Rather than spend a lot time forcing background characters off their telephones, it might have been compelling to discover extra of Holland’s inner narrative and relationships together with her household, barely estranged mates, and her potential new love curiosity. So a lot time was spent strolling round, exhibiting others the sunshine reasonably than basking in that heat glow ourselves, a selection that will have made the game extra impactful. Land of Screens finally appears like a predictable-but-endearing Netflix romcom–though suppose extra Love Hard reasonably than Someone Great.

Holland dances at a concert.
Holland dances at a live performance.



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