Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
Panic! Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Rating: 40%
Panic! Panic! Panic! Panic!
  • Review Score:

  • C-
You'll find in review after review I complain about the lack of interactivity in games. That is, games like Myst often get horrible reviews based on the knowledge that the game doesn't immerse you the way a game should. You just can't do whatever you want, you're limited in scope.

However, often the reason for my gripe is because the programmers are more interested in telling a story than letting you experience it. I may pick on Myst for this, as it is the most extreme example (scoring the lowest score on Defunct Games), but the other side would be Doom, a game with no story and all interactive. However, Panic, a small game that got a little press in Japan under the title Switch, is neither of those extremes.

Panic is not interactive and yet Panic does not have a story. At least, not a traditional story. To say that Panic is unique is to say that George W. Bush was the overwhelming winner of the 2000 election! Panic's story consists of a "savior" (an extremely cartoon-y kid, with his equally cartoon-y dog) on his quest to rid the world's computer of a "virus". If he fails various landmarks -- Eiffel Tower, Grand Canyon, etc. -- are destroyed.

The less you concern yourself about the story, though, the better. The game isn't about puzzle solving, nor is it about fast fingers. Actually, I'll tell you exactly what it's about; it's randomly picking a button and watching what it does. That's right, with each room (and there are thousands) there is a remote control. The buttons on it will either do something with the level (destroy a landmark, show some wacky Monty Python-ish skit that really makes no sense at all) or send you to another level.

So what's the point of Panic? There isn't one. That's to say, the fun of the game is just pushing the buttons, and getting ready to watch, more so experience, what you are given. You can literally get lost wandering through the different levels seeing the different animations. But it's not a game. It's really just a show piece that looks as drug related as a Grateful Dead concert.

There are funny moments, your male characters receiving breasts is a highlight, but after everything is said and done, this is not a game and it is not fun to play. It's hard to enjoy unless you have an extremely abstract sense of humor. And really, it's such a niche game, that I cannot recommend it to any casual gamer. Try it before you spend any amount of money on this novelty title.
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