A code for this game was provided by Sometimes You for review purposes. This game was reviewed on a PS4 Pro and is also available on PS Vita, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Xbox One.

Overview

North is a game meant to be a social talking point about the plight of refugees coming in to Europe. It’s definitely a talking point whether in the national spotlight or in the social media sphere. So with that being the case it was only a matter of time before a game developer decided to chime in on the issue through game creation and thus we have the indie game North. While most playing it won’t understand the meaning behind it or what it’s even about at all there are some that have picked up on the idea of it being about either immigration an issue facing many areas but most notably North America or refugees which most notably is an Eastern side of the pond issue. Either way the game is meant to start a conversation on the subject.

Story

The developers goals for the story when making North were to allow people who otherwise live a normal life to feel what it feels like to be lost, confused and angry but cannot do anything about it. This is what they have found a common refugee trying to come to Europe feels. It does feel like it fell short in that the game really doesn’t do much to explain its premise or to even let you know the inspiration in which the game came from. So without that context you are simply walking through dark corridors and completing very simple puzzles and getting completely done with the game in around 20 minutes. That to me doesn’t do enough of what the developers set out to do. I felt their intention may have been in the right place but it just didn’t translate over well in-game form.

Gameplay/Graphics/Sound

I had to go ahead and include all 3 of these topics in to one category. Due to the game being a walking simulator there really isn’t much to speak of in the gameplay category. Other than using the analog sticks to look and walk around, you will come across a couple of puzzles that aren’t necessarily explained in the least bit but are really simple to figure out. That pretty much sums up all the gameplay this game has to offer.

The graphics are very dark in grim in a lot of areas with minimal decorations or additional graphics to fill in some of the void. Though this might have been intended that way given the feelings the developer wanted to convey. There are some brighter areas of the game such as the work area but only a limited amount of time is actually spent there so for the most part you will be experiencing the bleak and dark nature of the games graphics. I would suggest that you either play with the lights off in the room so you can find your way around or turning up your gamma on your TV as the game has no in-game menu. You see the title screen and it goes straight in to the game. There is no option to pause or look at any settings. So if brightening up the screen is something you want to do, you will need to do this through your TV settings rather than the typical in game menu.

The sounds of the game are as you would expect are pretty grim. When it comes to the few times you will “speak” to another NPC in the game you are presented with how I like to characterize it is the “Charlie Brown” effect. Where when the adults in a Charlie Brown cartoon speak you hear what a child hears and it’s just muffled noise. In this case, knowing what the developers intended, I’m assuming the muffled noise you hear when interacting with an NPC is the language barrier and not being able to fully understand what the person is saying. If this was their intent they did do that part right.

Summary

While the game set out to invoke some sort of feelings in people regarding refugees and their plight. I feel that it failed on that message and really was just an unintelligible mess. It just became a walking simulator where weird shit happens unexplained. It seems that their intended message just didn’t translate over in to gaming as well as they might have thought it did. After playing this the first time I just basically ran through the other versions of the game for easy 100% trophy lists. This game does have 4 stackable lists with PS4/Vita and between NA and EU. While you might be able to take away something from this game with the foreknowledge of what it is trying to convey, I simply could not and just wanted it to be over with. There is one thing that I can say about this game though, it seems to be priced right for the amount of “game” that is there.

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NORTH

2.99
7.6

Gameplay

6.5/10

Graphics

6.5/10

Sound

8.0/10

Performance

9.5/10

Pros

  • A good attempt at a social conversation
  • A typical walking simulator
  • The sounds fit with the graphics

Cons

  • A poor execution of a political message
  • Games should stay away from political messaging
  • The game is rather short
  • Could use a description that allows for context

I am a gamer of over 30+ years. I started back when the PONG console was out and have been gaming ever since. I primarily play on PS4 but also do play on Xbox One as well. I am a husband and a father of 5, along with a beautiful granddaughter whom we are adopting. Life is great and gaming is too. (PSN ID: RAMB0_ALLSTAR)

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