Number two, Cozy Simulation 2999 - ~~~
First off, I want to talk about the game’s design.
The music was beautiful and the intentional cuts where it disappeared added to the tense atmosphere the author was attempting to build; it all seemed masterfully chosen. The sudden shift to the creepy red text on the black background after previously being in a warm, cozy, cabin made me feel as if I was suddenly forced into a cold shower and that nervous feeling it brought was very appreciated. As a fan of horror-everything, playing this game effectively captured the perfect three protagonist feelings of “Where am I? How do I get out? (and) Should I get out?” And this is something where choice games always have the upper hand compared to other forms of media.
The game itself is based on a straightforward idea of virtual abduction, but it’s executed in a way that is so wonderfully unique.
The writing is truly the crown jewel of it all. The prose carries the entire idea the author had envisioned and executes it beautifully. Drinking hot chocolate on the rug and watching the fireplace feels warmer and lovelier compared to real life because of how it’s described adding to the feeling of living in a perfect world; the first scene goes like this,
- “Somewhere a fireplace is crackling. You are wrapped in an old quilt. Soft downy fuzz. You remember a patch of sunlight on the carpet. Your head feels languid with dreams.”
I honestly felt as if I was transported into a warm log cabin and I had a little narrator friend nudging me along to do pleasant activities. Then, of course, we had the… new place which I encountered after sleeping once again,
- “I need to run. Can hear them outside, crawling through the abandoned complex. Buzzing. The broken window casts a jagged square of light barely visible on the floor. Floor slick with mold and blood. Need to run. Can’t muster the strength. Hear machinery buzzing beyond the broken window. Can’t muster the strength. Huddled in a dark room with peeling walls. Can’t—”
Those few lines drag me out of the feeling of safety the cabin once provided and force me to open my eyes and finally try to figure out where I am.
So, the protagonist awakens to find themselves in a warm log cabin during the middle of winter.
A disembodied narrator speaks softly to them to enjoy the warmth and feeling for as long as they want to. Almost like a getaway from home, we don’t have to worry about the problems of everyday life. We can read a book, sit by the fire, and truly do whatever we feel as time passes on and on. But as you sleep, flashes of memories start to break down the utopia you’ve seemingly found yourself in. Disturbing memories. So now critical thinking finally starts to seep in and the player begins to wonder, “Why am I here… and how did I get here?”
The “glitches” in this cozy cabin seem to get stronger and stronger as time goes on where books detailing you to look under rugs start to appear and stories of mental rewiring start to pop up on your holo screen.
The white world of snow you get to explore seems too good to be true, and lo and behold, it is. As expected in twisted simulation horror games we find out that a little Lovecraftian friend on our head is trapping us in a human factory farm chopping off parts of living humans and using those parts to create mindless new ones. One hidden message in the game described it as a “mental rewiring manufactory that has reached a new level of efficiency.”
Surprisingly, the creature is more benevolent than I had thought it would be, but not benevolent enough to let you escape. From what I can glean from the other flashes of memories we see, our protagonist was one of the last humans hiding from these creatures that were taking over their area, but they were found and taken to this place. I’m not sure why they want to create new human beings, but the lack of knowledge about their end goal works better in my opinion. Instead, the player has to accept that this is just reality now.
Ending Spoiler → You either stay in the dream-world or you experience two types of ethereal type of death in the real-world
Here are some random thoughts that arose during my playthrough:
- I love the narrator slowly getting disconcerted with our “art.”
- Man, they got me. Should’ve crushed it ← (my thoughts before I realized both endings lead to death)
Who set this up… and why do humans need to be mentally rewired? Is the head of this operation a creature? or a human being?
- I am not sure how to feel about my shelled friend, this relationship seems very toxic.
While I enjoyed playing, I can admit that the game is not completely polished with there being some bugs here and there. However, it’s forgivable when compared to the overarching great storyline.
I’m also questioning the creatures being called “angels.” it might be a manufacturing name that was assigned to them, but since the protagonist seems scorned and disgusted with them I doubt they’d call them anything with a positive connotation.
And this is just a personal thought, but I would’ve enjoyed seeing the creature not be able to speak with the protagonist after being taken off since they severed that neural link. I think that having a screechy indiscernible alien language once they’re disconnected from the player would have been an even cooler contrast between dream-world and real-world.
Also, my first ending ended up being my player getting taken over by hive after not crushing my little friend. After going through it all again to get the rest of the endings, I found that the “normal” ending where you go through the game and notice little things going awry was one of my favorites. I wish the trapdoor link didn’t come so early so that the player could notice a few more things going wrong before opting to wake up; I believe it would add more to the atmosphere.
This was a great game and I enjoyed myself very much!
I would recommend this to anyone in a more polished form.