How about a puzzle game that teaches you about life, death, and making the right choice?
The End. A game that is almost unbelievable in terms of concept and content. This game, by Channel 4 and Preloaded involves one person, navigating their way through different ‘worlds’ or realms, with a view to discover oneself.
In the beginning, the player is asked to create their avatar which will be used in the game. The customizations for the avatar are as bizarre as the game itself. Then the game begins with a meteor shown falling on the world. The player then bids goodbye and is shown in a desolate place, where he meets three otherworldly beings, who are guarding the three dimensions, the mind, body and spirit dimension.
From then on, the player must select a dimension to enter, and complete the levels in that dimension. The keyboard directions can be used in gameplay, with the SPACE bar to jump and the E button to use a special light power – that transforms shadows into solid paths.
Each level is timed, and a player has to get to the key at the end of it. This key would be used to unlock a door. But hold up, you must first answer a question according to what you feel about it. The kind of questions asked are like, “Is it possible to be happy by simply living in the moment?” which can be answered either way, depending on what the player thinks. The two doors titled YES and NO can be chosen from. As you explore each level, you collect stars that build points. However, at the end of the level, the player is challenged to a game by the guardian of the dimension.
The game is extremely interesting, it is called Death Cards. The concept is simple. The hexagonal cards contain 3 numbers. Placing a card whose side has a higher number than another card, next to it, will cause the lower numbered card to flip and the player to gain a point. The objective is to win the major space on the board. If you fail, you can try again, and on winning you receive an object that represents a philosophical concept, and allowed to proceed.
The game is free of cost, and can be only used by a single player at a time. The player can save his progress in two ways. One is connecting the game to a Facebook account, and the other method is to send a unique code to an email address. Both these methods let a player access their own game from anywhere, anytime.
Though the game-play is fairly easy to understand, the concepts are not – they involve crucial thinking about the body, mind and spirit. This may not be understood by younger players, who can focus on the puzzle aspect of the game.
The concept and execution of The End is brilliant. From the music to the design and especially the storyline, the game is an ingeniously crafted one. The game, however, does have some shortcomings. The difference between what a player has to do in the levels, and the concepts that initiate philosophical thought, is vast. There is no concrete narrative that relates the two aspects, which sometimes ends up confusing the player.
This does not in any way mask the incredible dimension that The End brings to the world of gaming. The game is straight-forward and the death card battles are player-friendly. For a free-of-cost game, this one is well worth your time, plus, it encourages you to try to think over certain aspects of life that one would normally overlook. All in all, a must play.