Try/Buy/Wait: Plug & Play + Kids
In Try/Buy/Wait, Checkpoint writers review a game and give you a recommendation on whether to Try the game via demos/buy-and-refund, Buy the masterpiece of a game immediately, or Wait until the game is on sale – letting you know if a game is ultimately worth your money and time.
WARNING: The following two indie games are weird… really, REALLY WEIRD. Checkout the launch trailer and you’ll believe me.
Your Writer: Daxter
Top 3 Favorite Games: Zero Escape Virtues: Last Reward, Dead Space, Fall Out New Vegas
Favorite Genre: RPG
Recently Finished: Shadow Complex, Enter the Gungeon: Ultimate, Plug & Play + Kids, My Friend Pedro, Celeste
Currently Playing: Space Hulk: Deathwing, Corpse Party, Destiny 2, Hollow Knight, Monster Hunter: World
Bio: My favorite anime is Clannad. Nice to meet you!
Creative interpretation is odd sometimes. You can occasionally put together a masterful argument of what something “should” mean to the viewer. Grasping at straws of what you perceive to be a “correct” interpretation of art. Rather than simply saying that something is meaningless, we look for our own way to find a method to the madness. After all, if you spend time on a hobby, or creating, or consuming, it can’t just be meaningless…right?
Some would classify Plug & Play from Etter Studios and KIDS from Double Fine Presents as not video games. I disagree, as it uses player input to make actions happen. However, I would describe it more as an experience than a full game, as it doesn’t feel like it is meant to be replayed over and over, simply consumed and maybe even interpreted.
On Plug & Play
As a game, I found Plug & Play very boring. I went into this experience knowing nothing, and came out seeing what I believed and moving on. You use your mouse to move outlets to one another, combining parts by trial and error until you move on to the next scene. If I were to apply an interpretation, it would be sexualization, maybe even bisexualism. Plug people do not care who they plug into, possibly being agendered. Rather than dwelling on who it is they plug with, it is simply an action, and we must continue.
KIDS was a better experience, yet I would never want to watch it again. Multiple trial and error sections felt too repetitive, grinding down the emotional response, so even parts that originally grossed me out lost their impact. One such part depicted a person traveling inside a tube, with accompanying eating and digestion noises. At first, it unnerved me, and I felt sick to my stomach hearing it. But perhaps, as I interpret it, normalizing the discomfort was the point. We go along with others in disregard for our own safety, simply because it is easier to stay with the crowd. We repeat our tasks everyday, see things change little by little, yet stay the same day by day.
We listen to others instead of listening to our own thoughts, doubting ourselves, leading to anxiety, self doubt, or maybe worse.
Yet in the end we all run away. Maybe together, maybe apart, yet all we know how to do is run. We are not superheroes, we are not Batman. We are ordinary people, just man or woman.
Or that’s one way to look at it, anyways.
Others such as Jess Joho of Mashable says of Kids:
“insists on the beauty of being one indistinguishable part of the masses, part of something cosmically bigger than any one ego.”‘Kids’ is a mesmerizing iOS art game about the human collective by Jess Joho, Mashable
And others such as Andrew Webster of The Verge say the game:
“is more like a thought-provoking toy, rather than a traditional game.”The strange and surreal Kids is part game, part short film by Andrew Webster, The Verge
And then you have voices like Mobile Game Hunter calling the game:
“one of the most interesting indie games ever”“KIDS” Experimental Project by Double Fine and Playable sComing to iOS and Android this Year, Mobile Game Hunter
“you know something brilliant will be the outcome.”Mobile Game Hunter
And these people couldn’t be more wrong. Both these “games” aren’t proper games. There’s no fun to be had playing either of these, nor is there anything of interest to be gained. Sure this form of art is “interesting” but what is it really more than just some two men seeking attention by creating a vague work that’s not only boring but outright weird and disturbing? It’s as they developed this game and exploited the vulgar and dark themes just to gain exposure for media outlets to call their game “innovative”, “new”, and “brilliant. But really, these “games” are an insult to my intelligence.
As a gamer, when I hop into a video game I except to find a world to indulge myself into that’s fun and allows me an escape from reality that’s not only interesting but inviting. Kids and Plug & Play does neither and in all honesty, I’d prefer all the time I spent playing this game in order to write this review refunded.
Verdict: Wait (and REEAAALLY think about it)
This is likely the harshest review I’ve had for a game ever in my entire gaming career, but I really didn’t care for this experience, and neither should you. If you really want to try it out, then give yourself a good long while to think about whether you want to spend time on this game. And if you still want to see the game, become a viewer that this was designed for and watch it on Youtube. If not watch it, you’ll be fine skipping this game entirely – you will be done with both in less than half an hour, and then move on.
Plug & Play was developed by Mario von Rickenbach and Michael Frei and published by Etter Studio with a release date of March 5, 2015, and was based loosely on the indie film of the same name. Kids was also developed by Mario von Rickenbach and Michael Frei but now in conjunction with Playables and was published by Double Fine Presents on May 28, 2019. Both games are available for the Mobile and PC platforms, with a special bundle on Steam including both games.