The Corridor Review

12/04/2020 - 20:30 | By: Robert N. Adams
Release Date
December 4, 2020
Platforms
PC
Purchase (Some links may be affiliated)
Steam
The Game That Doesn't Want You to Play It.

A small subset of video games likes to get a little meta and subvert player expectations in interesting ways. The Corridor promises to do just that in 30 minutes or less and I was eager to try it.

The Corridor is the brainchild of game developer Thomas Mackinnon. This is his first commercial game on Steam and it also happens to have the honor of being bonus content included with the December 2020 Humble Choice games.

The concept of the game is simple: you start in a corridor. The corridor has a door at one end and an orange button at the other end. Players must walk towards the button and push it, and then something happens, ultimately with a goal of playing with your expectations. As a fan of stuff like The Stanley Parable and Antichamber, I was eager to dive into this game.

My first experience had me dropped into the titular corridor exactly as expected. I walked up to the button and, filled with anticipation, pushed it. The game immediately closed after I pushed the button. It's a very underwhelming end to the game and it left me sorely disappointed.

 
 

The Corridor review Obviously Not the Real Score Card

No, the review is not over! Ending it early felt wholly within the spirit of the game.

Every time the button is pushed, it closes out The Corridor and requires the player to start anew, providing them with another surprise — and that's what genuinely makes it so wonderful.

The Corridor review upside down
No, I did not flip this screenshot — this is one of the many ways the game messes with the player.

Playing With Expectations

The Corridor is, on its face, comprised of three simple pieces: the corridor itself, the door at one end, and the button at the other end. That's the entire framework of the game at first glance, and Thomas Mackinnon does a lot with just these three simple elements.

 Each little twist, each wrench thrown into the works is a pleasant surprise...

It should be noted that there is also a trailer for the game, although it's not quite a trailer in the traditional sense. Rather, this "trailer" is an extended demo played out in a web browser and it contains wholly original content separate from this game. Whether you get this game or not, it does a wonderful job of letting you get a feeling for the type of humor and gameplay that you get with The Corridor; you can (and should) play it at thecorridorthegamethetrailer.com.

My first few minutes of the game — and that's a big part of the experience, considering the developer promises 20–30 minutes of playtime — made me laugh out loud at the amusingly childish attempts to subvert the player's ability to push the button. Progressing further into the experience pushes things to even more absurd heights, crossing over into other genres in wonderfully weird ways.

 

This is the part of the review where I would normally cite some specific examples. There are many items in the bag of tricks used in this game that I could pick out and highlight, but I genuinely think that would spoil the game.  Each little twist, each wrench thrown into the works is a pleasant surprise, and I'm reluctant to ruin any of them for the player — especially because it's such a short experience.

The Corridor review right turn
The mid-game mixes up the gameplay with the thrilling inclusion of a right turn. An exciting mystery was surely just around the bend.

Short But Sweet

The Corridor is ultimately a very short experience. It is so short, in fact, that it took me longer to write this review than play the actual game. The developer stated that players would probably get no more than 30 minutes of playtime out of the game. I played through it once and then explored some alternate options, ultimately clocking in at 35 minutes of playtime.

I purchased this game on Steam rather than getting it as part of Humble Choice. I think it has more than a reasonable price for the amount of entertainment I got out of it. It is a very simple game on its face that managed to surprise me quite a few times and it genuinely made me laugh.

Perhaps best of all, The Corridor is a game that can be enjoyed by nearly anyone. You do not need masterful puzzle-solving skills. You don't need to be able to flick your mouse and score a sweet headshot. There is no need for a deep understanding of hallway lore.

 

Perhaps best of all, The Corridor is a game that can be enjoyed by nearly anyone.

That's not to say my experience was free of issues. The constant closing of the game got a little grating, so much so that I made the rare move of creating a desktop shortcut to jump back into it easier. This is a short game, though, and it concludes before this constant loop of starting and ending the game gets too annoying.

I was also mildly concerned that this loop of closing and restarting the game may have annoyed my friends with the constant Steam notifications popping up... and the developer had covered that, too, recommending that it may be a good idea to go into the offline mode for the duration of the game. This guy thinks of everything.

The Corridor was much better than I had expected and I loved it. It's accessible to pretty much everyone and it lasts just long enough to entertain the player while not outstaying its welcome. I heartily recommend it, especially if you love oddball humor or games like The Stanley Parable — it is well worth your time and your money.


TechRaptor reviewed The Corridor on PC with a copy purchased by the reviewer.

Review Summary

9.0
The Corridor has a corridor as advertised and a bonus button, too. Pressing the button makes weird fun happen in a perfectly concise experience.

Pros

  • Charmingly Plays With Player Expectations
  • Entertaining Narration
  • Interesting Variants on One Theme

Cons

  • Repeatedl Closures Can Get Annoying
  • Resetting Progress Not Readily Obvious

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A photograph of Robert N Adams
Senior Writer

I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I haven't stopped gaming since. CCGs, Tabletop Games, Pen & Paper RPGs - I've tried a whole bunch of stuff over the years and I'm always looking to try more!