Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
Every once in awhile, my game bundle problem leads me to something beautiful that I’d never heard of. Knee Deep is an adventure game, more in the vein of Telltale Games rather than a classic point-n-click adventure full of inventory puzzles. It’s a noir mystery set in the Florida swamp lands. More interestingly, the entire story is presented to you in the style of a stage play.
I played about an hour into the first act (out of three acts), and the game play thus far has mostly consisted of making dialogue choices, and deciding what news to report, and what spin to put on it. The game comes right out and tells you that you can’t lose, but it does let you know that what you say matters.
Throughout each act, you will have the chance to participate in the story through controlling the choices of three different characters. Knee Deep is a game on very rigid rails; you go where it takes you, and you become the person it tells you to become when it decides you should. For some people this is a turn off. However, if you can deal with the idea of this being more of a visual novel than a game, and that your choices really aren’t going to effect how the story ends, then I can’t think of a lovelier piece of interactive fiction currently available.
Knee Deep is visually stunning. At least for me, a fan of mysteries in any form, the story completely holds my attention. The characters – at least the playable ones – feel respectably fleshed out, although some folks you encounter feel more like caricatures than people. The voice acting is absolutely solid. There’s the option to use this nifty eye motion tracker, if you happen to have one.
This is a game I want to finish, but that I also want to savor. Completion time is approximately 5-6 hours, and it doesn’t feel like the sort of game that would have much replay value, at least short term. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if I revisited it down the line, when the story has become hazy in my mind.
With little to no replay value, and such a short storyline, I can’t in good conscience tell you to go right out and drop a $20 on this game. I absolutely think it’s worth downloading the demo, and making that decision for yourself. If you can find it on sale for $10 or less, I would absolutely, unequivocally recommend it, just for the experience. When a game does so many things so right, it’s hard to fault it for not stuffing itself with filler just to provide more in game hours.