Embrace failure on the road to your dreams. That’s the main theme here.

I don’t know. I guess that works ok in video games; not so great in skydiving. So maybe it depends where you fall on that continuum.

Embracing failure

I mean, to start with, what are your dreams? Why are they your dreams? Are you sure they’re yours, or are they someone else’s, projected onto you? What if your dreams are misguided, the product of a less-than-noble motivation like vanity or greed? What happens when your dreams conflict with a higher duty, George Bailey-style? How do you know you’re following your dreams and not merely being controlled by your impulses?

See how easy it is to be a jerk about a simple, wholesome message like this?

They say something nice, and then some @^$#%&* like me comes along and starts picking on everything. No wonder they felt the need to make this game.

So maybe the other side of the coin is that you don’t always need to overthink things. It goes without saying that you’re going to learn new stuff along the way that makes you readjust your goals. Nobody’s going to have it all figured out from the beginning, and most of the time you’ll be better off doing something as opposed to nothing at all, especially if it’s fear of failure that’s stopping you.

And if you do quit, make sure you’re quitting for your own reasons, on your terms, or else you’ll end up full of regrets.

Wait, what was I talking about here?

Anyway, they try to convey that sort of life lesson through the unconventional medium of the video game boss fight. That’s where you come in.

Doing better

If you’ve ever played an old-fashioned turn-based JRPG, that part feels just like you’d expect. Attacks. Spells. Potions. Summons. You know the drill. The main twist is that you’re supposed to lose–at least, at first. Basically, you start out getting crushed, and then every time you die you recover another ability until eventually you triumph.

I see they anticipated my biggest criticism which reared its head in the early phases of the game, which is that you just seem to be given these powers arbitrarily, with no effort involved. Later, though, you get to see how each one is the product of a challenge that you overcame, the idea being, “look how unprepared you’d be if you hadn’t needed to struggle along the way!”

This part you just sit back and watch

The obvious shortcoming here is that you dont actually get to do any of the overcoming yourself and are really a just a passive observer during the character-building process.

Well, what they lack in interactivity I guess they make up for in directness. Yeah, whatever else you can say about it, this game does stay on-message, to the point where sometimes it breaks the fourth wall entirely and delivers its pep talk straight to the player in the second person.

Alright, alright, I promise! Geez…

This is probably starting to sound awfully strange, and I had to do a little soul-searching to understand why I reacted more positively to this than to, say, Perception, another game that set out to “inspire” us but fell flat on its face.

For one thing, this game is short–less than an hour–and so it never really has time to wear out its welcome. Since they’re relying more on the experimental structure than a conventional plot to carry their message, they don’t run such a risk of undermining everything with bad storytelling like Perception did. Plus, a good old JRPG boss fight is way more fun than stumbling around in the dark getting shot by dolls.

Hey, look, I’m not saying base your whole life on this. Even they admit at one point that it’s a little cheesy; but they seem like they’re trying to help, so what’s the harm? Who knows. Maybe the little vote of confidence actually will catch the right person at just the right time and give them enough of a boost to get through something.

It may be kind of a sketchy shortcut to achieving their desired end; but how can you come down too hard on something like this? If nothing else their heart is in the right place.

Developer: Lame Jam

Publisher: Lame Jam

Purchased on: Steam

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