Friday, December 2, 2011


Lies. People tell us lies all the time. We tell OURSELVES lies. Hell, I lie to myself daily about the number of calories in a cookie. (Can't be that much, right? May as well have three more.) So why not base a video game around lying?


Depict1 is a game about a free woman. She's not at all trapped in a maze, and there's a perfectly nice, innocent person giving her accurate instructions from above. Everything is, in this world, as it should be.

Or that was all a lie. Which encapsulates the experience that is Depict1.

This is you:

And this is the strange person who talks to you throughout the game, your only company and guide:

That's a smile you can trust. I sure think so, anyway.

The events surrounding Depict1 are a mystery, and they probably don't matter anyway. Point is, your little hooded dude is trapped in a topsy-turvy world of shining beams and weird monsters, and you need to steer your way out while avoiding hazards, using the aforementioned beams to move from one level to the next.

The problem? It's the guy. The guy lies to you. Over, and over, and over. You must learn, in a hurry, that not all is as it seems in your prison... to the point that you even need to question the game's controls. Yeesh. It's a neat idea, and calls into question, constantly, the sincerity of those in our own lives. How can we tell when somebody is lying and when they're telling the truth? Especially when they sound perfectly reasonable?


Depict1 is a teensy weensy bit more complex on the controls front than your average game, as you not only have to figure them out via clues given in the game, but you don't use up to jump. This was doubtless a conscious decision on the programmer's part, but this coupled with the ability to toss projectiles can prove a little confusing without some practice. The levels are small enough that a control-based flub isn't the end of the world, but guiding your guy around is occasionally irksome because of the layout. On the plus side, though, his landings are absolutely perfect, which is a necessity on precision courses.


Depict1 is a bit weird in that it has a fairly basic aesthetic that's nevertheless really cool to see in action. The levels all look more or less the same, and after an hour or two they'd probably get downright boring, but given the scope of the game... everything works. The sprites are clean, the animations crisp and, most important, the shadowy figure you're forced to face is appropriately sinister despite hiding in the shadows most of the time. Well done.


Depict1's sound is probably its weakest area. The music isn't BAD, but it's understated. Barely there. A lot of levels are completely quiet, and when they aren't, you'll probably pay little attention to the sound. No complaints, just nothing special.

Challenge Rating

Depict1 is not a tough game. It's merely a trial and error: most levels shouldn't take more than a minute to complete, and though there are a few posers amid the puzzles they're far from the majority. The average player will require a solid hour to complete Depict1, and once you know how to beat it you can probably blow through the game in ten minutes flat. (If that.)

This does not, however, take away from the game. I have no trouble playing through Depict1, mainly because I enjoy the lying "compatriot", and there's some satisfaction in getting away from him in the end.

Or... do you...?


Depict1 is a neat, semi-disturbing game that'll get most players thinking about the nature of deceit. And, hell, it's still a fun platformer even if you don't get too philosophical about games.


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