Only If Review: If Only It Ended Sooner

by commie
  • Developer

  • Platforms

  • Director

    Tarek Ghandour
  • Music

    Steven O'Brein

When I was younger, I tried my hand at mapping for the Source engine. I had an idea: what if I made a surreal map? First, I made a house. You go into the house, and you walk into an airplane. And then from the airplane, you go into a bedroom. Needless to say, it wasn't very surreal. Or fun. Or interesting in any way. Why am I sharing it with you, then? Because that map is basically Only If.

Only If is a free indie game on Steam. It's made in Unity, of course, because it's the only game engine that exists. Apparently. You play Anthony, some guy in college going to a party. But when he wakes up the next morning, he's in the bedroom of the house. On the wall is a picture of Yoko from Gurren Lagann. Why the anime? It's surreal, try to keep up. The apparently-Norwegian narrator (I don't know his actual country of origin, but his accent reminds me of the Cry of Fear protagonist) is cracking jokes about the whole thing (possibly, the writers may have been trying to be serious). There's a note on the table that says "I told you the cake wasn't a lie!" Funny video game jokes. It's on that table because the someone decided that the best place to store their plates was on and around the other table.

You walk out the door, but that's not surreal enough so you teleport to a blue-walled room. It's actually black, I think, but you follow a blue orb through it and it casts blue light everywhere and looks ugly. But it's over shortly when you enter someone's office or something. A Hispanic Danny DeVito yells at you from a radio and makes fun of you. That's surreal. His name's Vinny. He tells you to find a key in the next minute or the cops will shoot you. Then you enter another room and he tells you to pick a white or black pawn and burn all the paintings on the walls. Ok. Surrealism. I picked the white pawn and I'm not replaying it for the other route because this game is awful.

I don't want to spend this entire review describing what happens in the game. That would be as boring as the game is itself. I don't even need to describe the rest of the game to you, because I can sum it up in two words: fetch quest. Find the key, find the key, and the game's favorite fetch quest: find out what you're supposed to do. At several points in the game, you're supposed to type answers in. The game doesn't tell you this. I spent five minutes wandering around a park until I figured out that I was supposed to type "yes." Later in the park, the game gives you a clue as to what you're supposed to do: "Trash talking are we?" Can you figure out what that means? If you got "go around the park and stick your head into every trashcan," you're god damn insane. And also the developer of this game. That is what you are supposed to do. Surreal. The game glitched out when I alt-tabbed so I skipped that level.

Did I mention there's no saves? It uses a password system like the Gameboy games of yore. It's annoying as hell. It only gets worse from here. At some point the developer got tired of fetching keys and decided we want to do something else: PLATFORMING. This is as surreal as it gets, folks. Then you get in another argument with Vinny, and he tells you that all kids these days want the thug life (his words), and gives you a revolver. Then you jump around on pillars and shoot jars full of drugs that make you float. There's also more swearing from the narrator. Did I mention he went to the party because he wanted to bang the girl who was throwing it? Her name's Sam. She's voiced by Rina-chan, who is apparently the only female voice actor in the world.

The game has an ending. It's as surreal as the rest of the game. You wake up in a bed, and you think it was all just a dream, BUT IT WASN'T! You fall into the door black hole again. Now you get to wait a few minutes for some more narrator and Vinny dialog. Vinny gives you a cryptic riddle, and it basically means "stick your head in a trashcan, go south, shoot the vase that's tipped over, and enter the door." Surreal. Then you get the real ending: Sam is actually your sister! Wow! Gee! This would've been surprising if 1) Sam was an actual character 2) who had been developed upon 3) and we had met 4) and Anthony wasn't such an idiot 5) and that ending made any sense at all. Oh, Vinny's also some doctor who gave you a surrealism drug. That's not illegal. Or shady. Or stupid. Plot.

Only If is a combination of artsy indie game and "Hey guys, look what I can do in Unity!" I don't have anything against with artsy indie games, but this one isn't artsy in the least—it just really wants to be. And falls short. Way short. I've played flash games that were artsier than this. Hell, I could deal with the terrible gameplay—I've enjoyed games that had none at all—if the rest of the game wasn't so god awful. Just go play Dear Esther, it's a much better game.


Article Summary

The Good

  • It ends.
  • The park is pretty I guess.
  • The title screen is nice.

The Bad

  • It's boring.
  • The writing is terrible.
  • It tries so hard to be artsy but come on man.

Through careful analysis, I have determined the main character is Arabic.

There's no real reason to play this. It's not fun, it's not really that pretty, and the writing is terrible. Out of the two of my friends on Steam who had played this, one of them was the only PewDiePie fan I know. Apparently PewDiePie played this game. I'm not sure if I'd prefer to play this game or watch PewDiePie.

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