Continue?9876543210 Review

Developer: Jason Oda | Publisher: Jason Oda | Price: $9.99 | Platforms: iOS, PC | ESRB: Rating Pending

Continue9876543210 Screen

“Game Over.” Words that once meant emptying your pockets and giving up all your quarters at the arcades. Failure and death in video games by today’s standards generally means little in terms of consequence, but for Continue?9876543210 death is the very essence of the game.

A video game character is struck down and dying, as is often the case, but this avatar is not ready to die. The character is transferred to the Random Access Memory, a plane where all data goes to be inevitably deleted by the Garbage Collector. While all the other avatars have accepted their fate, your character still has a will to fight, so she (or he) ventures into the unknown, searching for something—anything—to understand the meaning of life.

Continue9876543210 Death

Just like life, randomness is at the game’s core: your avatar’s name and gender are randomized, the order the levels regenerate varies, and what most NPCs say is perplexing babble; but that unpredictability and confusion alludes to the game’s existential purpose: Life is a collection of random events, and such events can bring about new levels of understanding—like what encouraged Jason Oda, the game’s developer, to craft this journey in the first place. Thanks to some Peruvian jungle drugs, Oda had a near-death experience, lost in the mountains of New Mexico that promptly inspired him to create Continue?.

Visually the game showcases 8-bit graphics reminiscent of Superbrother’s Sword and Sworcery: simple in appearance yet detailed in design, befitting of the digital code world the characters inhabit. The graphics are coupled with a soothing, almost majestic soundtrack that creates an environment engrossing enough to keep your attention but minimal as to not distract from the words being said by the NPCs you encounter. And that’s a good portion of the gameplay: talk with random avatars to find clues, receive items of importance, or hear facts (and gibberish, mostly) about their surroundings.

Continue9876543210 Ambiance

There are a total of eleven levels, but you experience six in one playthrough—if you make it that far. Your avatar wanders through levels in search of two important powers: lightning, a force that helps clear the level’s exits that are blocked by debris, or prayer that builds shelter to hide from the Garbage Collector.

As you make your way around these levels and kooky NPCs, eventually you engage in battles that can earn you lightning, prayer, and money to buy more “continues” should you die (again). These battles are also random in nature: there’s a Space Invaders­-like level, small dungeons that bare a Legend of Zelda flare, or you’re tasked to kill enemies in a given time. Fighting is straightforward yet challenging; so much so that sometimes only being able to swing your sword left and right feels limiting.

Continue9876543210 Battle

Also constricting are the aforementioned graphics, at least when it comes to distinguishing where the exits are—but that of course could be part of the challenge. But then Continue? manages to overcome some of those issues with strong moments; the sight of a corpse that presumably drank itself to death, with beer bottles littered everywhere, is still powerful in 8-bit fashion, especially when presented after completing a level titled “war.”

The rest of the levels all carry themes, ones of childhood and love while there’s one that takes place in a prison, which has characters state how marriage is a prison, and other similar hyperboles. It’s these little conversations that define what you take away from Continue?. Your avatar is struggling to accept their fate; what they hear and experience is what defines how they feel about their mortality.

Continue9876543210 Drank to Death

Thus, there’s no objective besides surviving as long as possible to encounter as much as is available. It doesn’t matter should you die in battle, be found by the Garbage Collector, or complete all six levels—you define if it’s a valuable experience. Yet understanding that’s the objective can take awhile; even after reading the optional instructions it can take a few playthroughs to grasp the game’s mechanics, but fortunately one playthrough can be as much as thirty minutes.

Ultimately, it seems a bit unfair to give Continue? a score—it’s a game that can mean everything or nothing depending greatly on your worldly interpretation. Where games like Gone Home and Papers Please have a clear fundamental message tugging on your principles, Continue? is either answering life’s questions or presenting some you weren’t considering before—apparently while “late at night with a glass of wine or some weed.”

Continue9876543210 Hitchhike

+ Lovely ambience

— Challenging but sometimes limiting fighting mechanics

— Dialogue spoken is sometimes too random, at risk of taking away from game’s existential theme

7 / 10

 

  1. Finally! Someone made a game WHILE high as hell!

  2. So is this blog just going to stop operating in 2014 or something…? I mean there’s only been two articles in the past 2 weeks….

    • By the looks of it yes. Considering the amount of news and announcements there have been in the past two weeks, there hasn’t been a single bit of news on this website. As I said in an earlier comment, I know this isn’t mean to be a real, serious news website, but it would still be fun to check for quick concise news articles every now and then. Looks like it’s back to r/gamingnews then if this website is no longer going to be a thing

      • Oh, you guys! Didn’t you hear? I bought IGD from a Nigerian prince. Now I’m holding the news hostage until someone from the IGD staff makes an article about me. ME! And I’m not just talking about any article. I want cats. I want an article about me with lolcatz all over the place. I WANT MY LULZCATZ OR GTFO.

        MWAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Lawrence Sonntag

        Mugenite’s completely correct.

        Actually, we’re not dropping the blog at all. We’re in the process of re-vamping the blog behind the scenes and will launch with a brand-new layout pretty soon here.

        Apologies for being so quiet about it. We should have posted a notice so you guys wouldn’t have to wonder but it somehow slipped through the cracks. That sounds ultra crappy, and it is, so I apologize.

        At any rate, we’ll have the new layout ready to go in about a week and content will resume then. We really appreciate you guys checking in and noticing our coverage, so please stick around for a little while longer!

      • René Mathias Rojas

        No.

      • That sounds good, cant wait to see it then:)

      • Thank you, Lawrence. I was getting worried that you guys were dropping this site. This is where I go to get my daily game news.

  3. Yeah, I totally stopped watching IGD videos after Matt got the boot and this is the only gaming news site I like. Glad to hear it isn’t dead. Only way I’d watch the show again is for Matt, or Sodagod (I can dream.)

    • I think you should give it another shot, Bruce is a fantastic co-host and imo as good as matt was. IGD has never been better.

      • René Mathias Rojas

        Don’t even start. Matt Danevik was amazing and no one can replace him. Bruce is very good yeah, and he’s pretty hot but not as funny as Matt. Just glad that Adam is still there. It wouldn’t be Inside Gaming without Adóm Kovíc.

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