Game Reviews

Still Joking

Purple Brick Games’ Still Joking is advertised as a mix of visual novel, interactive fiction, and adventure. It is a detective mystery with multiple endings for main storylines and every character. It promises around fifteen hours of playthrough that consists of 400,000 words and more than a thousand choices to make during playing it. The game was self-published and got released on the 16th of May 2024 via Steam.

RELEASE DATE: MAY 16, 2024
DEVELOPER: PURPLE BRICK GAMES
PUBLISHER: PURPLE BRICK GAMES
PLATFORM: PC

In Still Joking you play as Iris, a reflection of a famous actress named Serena Elsie. The actress gets murdered in her dressing room, but her reflection still seems to be existing on the other side of the mirror. Iris’ task is to find out why Serena was brutally killed, and if it had to do with her fame. She wants to know, if the killer works in the industry as well, and if he is involved with Argus, which is the film Serena acted in. After death, prototypes (a term used for living persons) leave this realm, while their reflections proceed to the “distribution centre” where they are (mostly) free to do whatever they want to. The Community’s distribution centre is where all the reflections end up, and are in their care. Soon you meet your curator, Dora, that will take care of you for the next two months… and that is how long “playing” the game actually felt. If you ever played a visual novel you know, what the gameplay consists of – a whole lot of reading and some mouse clicking as well. It is no different with Still Joking, and what is especially sad, it is that it does not really pull you in, so that there would not be a problem reading. I never liked to read, not since I was a little child, but I do like to write, which is why I am writing this review. There are a few questions to ask and choices to make, though, but nothing particularly interesting or exciting.

Through playing you will encounter a handful of other reflections, but none of them managed to captivate me so much that I would be dying to find out more about them and their storylines. You are able to ignite a spark and romance between Iris and the three male characters that you communicate with, but nothing is mandatory as you can “choose your own adventure.” The settings choices of Still Joking are basically non-existent, you cannot play it in windowed mode, and there are no graphics options either, because they are made out of drawings that actually are not half bad.

I kind of wish I would have more positive things to say, because it seems like a lot of time was dedicated to writing the game and the artwork is good and nice to look at as well. The could maybe be more animations included to make the visual aspect of Still Joking more intriguing, but there is just too much reading involved. That was expected before starting the game, but the themes covered just were not my cup of tea.

GRADE

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