An Outcry Review

The eye has it...

Review

An Outcry Review

January 5, 2022

By: Will Quick

 
 

The struggle comes in a variety of forms. It affects all of us on different levels based on numerous factors, many of which are beyond our control. It can feel like a constant battle to muster up the strength and willpower to confront it. As a result, this can lead us to look for the power we need elsewhere, whether it’s positive or negative. Both of these are covered by Quinn K. in the narrative title An Outcry. It’s a somber, serious, and personal journey for an unknown person who experiences an unusual night to remember… and will try hard to forget.

Another night in.
There are many sounds that can keep a person up at night, but some of them are more alluring than others. We’ve all been in that situation where we hear something a part of us feels compelled to investigate even if other parts say we shouldn’t. This happens to the protagonist of the story, a person who is simply known as Unnamed. They are forced awake by an insatiable itch that can only be soothed with a cigarette. When they leave to go out to smoke, they hear an outcry that summons a flock of haunting birds who speak in rhyme and surround their building. It’s intriguing from the get-go and makes you want to figure just what the heron is happening.

Visiting with the neighbors.

When you’re enunciating or calling out into the night, you want to make sure that people can hear you well and understand exactly what you're saying. When An Outcry takes the stage, much of their speech can be heard quite clearly. One part in particular is its narrative structure. Whenever text appears on the screen, it carries a sense of importance that draws your attention and will linger in your mind as you play. A lot of attention goes into the dialogue and really makes every character feel real.

 
 

Despite how stylized An Outcry appears, the game feels realistic just like the dialogue. Even though the game has you facing down surreal nightmare birds, they feel like they could be part of a legitimate hallucination that gets worse and worse as time goes on. Unnamed is the protagonist but isn’t built up to be the hero; rather, they’re made to be on the same playing field as every other character they encounter. The story becomes more about helping them help themselves than it is about saving the day.

Then there’s how the visuals and audio combine. The pixel art is clean and detailed, while still looking gritty. This all suits the atmosphere of a building in disrepair and residents who are all struggling in different ways. This is accompanied by sound cues and a music track that further emphasizes the nightmarish elements that will descend upon all of them.

Taking on the bird.

When a cry echoes through the night, we're compelled to investigate and hope it's worth our time. In An Outcry, there are some wasted moments here and there. This includes a restrictive game world. It can be effective to set an entire game in just one area, but with how little there is in the first place, the apartment building is lacking a lot. There’s very little to interact with and although talking with the neighbors feels significant, it doesn’t feel always feel organic.

Then there’s the mechanic of making decisions. The game is almost too subtle in how it indicates decisions, which is confusing. You could simply be walking down a hallway and trigger something without realizing it. This adds to the immersion and natural feeling, but it’s also very vague. It’s never clear what is a decision and what isn’t. Whenever you’re asked to make a dialogue choice, none of the options seem particularly significant or different from each other. This enforces the realistic angle but also sets up trial-and-error gameplay. In a situation where you’d want to explore and get your bearings, it works against you that even the smallest curiosity could lead you to a bad end.

The combat aspect of the game is a bit lacking. There’s only a handful of battles and you’re actually encouraged to run away from them in order to guarantee survival. This leads to unsatisfying segments where you stand there as enemies unleash destruction upon your mortal frame until they get tired enough for you to escape. It makes the whole presence of a stat and equipment screen misleading.

 
 

Words in the night.

An Outcry Review | Final Thoughts

An Outcry is a narrative pixel RPG about an Unnamed smoker trying to survive a night filled with apocalyptic birds. It’s got a strong story angle supported by intrigue, memorable characters, and effective aesthetics. Still, it’s restrictive, unclear, and has tiring combat mechanics. With this in mind, it’s worth it to outcry this narrative experience.


TechRaptor's An Outcry review was conducted on Steam with a copy provided by those behind the game's release. It is also available on PC.

Review Summary

Review Summary

7.0
A powerful narrative story that targets your emotions holding back on the gameplay.

Pros

  • A interesting and engaging story with a surreal horror tone.
  • Intriguing text and natural dialogue that gets you invested.
  • Solid and gritty pixel art accompanied by a fitting soundtrack.

Cons

  • A restrictive and small setting to explore.
  • A decision-making system that doesn't make clear when decisions are being made.
  • A flawed and lackluster combat system.
Hey, I'm Will Q.
Staff Writer

Hi there, my name's Will Quick. I'm a US guy living in Spain for the time-being working as a writer. When I'm not playing games and thinking about what to say about them, I'm wandering about outside or drawing comics. My goal is to grow as a writer and creator so I can better use my skills to promote small or unknown projects. Feel free to ask me anything. Cheers!

From the Web

Comments