[Review] Doppelganger by Maxine Sophia Wolff

After devouring reviews on the forums, I thought it would only be fair to contribute a little something of my own. :slight_smile:

Wolff mentions this is an older project that was originally meant to be rewritten, but got shelved in the end- keep that in mind if you set off to play it yourself. I’m glad that it was shared with the world though! It was a neat little slice of a world that was discomforting to occupy, which is a good thing, I think- given the surreal gentle nightmare-esque tone to the piece. It never really verges into panic inducing, or outright terror- I never felt like I was in danger throughout this piece, (or rather, that my character was) though I did feel uneasy, and compelled to explore around, picking away at the various options over loops to see what I could make different.

A finicky bit- I didn’t really ‘get’ the point of writing in an entry in the diary- I hoped that the text I’d input would show up if I clicked through and rummaged through the loops, but it didn’t! It was still kind of a fun mechanic, but it would have been really rewarding to see that taken into consideration. I did like how the other entries got more chaotic as you kept looping- it really built up the ‘oh God, I am trapped here, aren’t I’ mood.

I like the use of sound here- it was a little squicky to hear someone gulping milk down blasted into your ears, which definitely set me into the frame of discomfort and initial confusion of hearing someone break into my house to… drink up all my milk? The rain was also comforting, which I think helped lend to both the floaty, ephemeral quality to the dream state, but also kept it from being a super frightening experience. It’s a different kind of horror to slashers or running screaming from monsters hot on your heels- more of a slow build up and bubbling unease that propels you ever forwards, curious but half not wanting to know at the same time. Neat!

I also really enjoyed the fact you could be kind to your doppelganger. Sure, it was a weird little thing, but I enjoy games where I can play a more compassionate character, and seeing how the antagonists react to that extension of grace. Sometimes being kind is sitting down on a rain soaked carpet with someone wearing your face, but prettier, somehow- who also has an obsession with milk. Not being able to directly communicate with her, and having to infer from her gestures and movements was a lovely touch- furthering the point of just spending some time next to someone you’re fond of, comfortable in the relative silence.

This is a bit of a childish postscript: but I’m lactose intolerant, and I have to admit, I had a bit of a laugh at the idea of my doppelganger chugging milk. If mine did that, RIP, haha.

I would suggest playing Doppelganger if: you like atmospheric, dreamy pieces that use audio to help enhance the mood, and you like exploring a slower paced horror.

You can play the game here: Doppelganger by maxine sophia wolff