“It’s important to attend funerals. It is important to view the body, they say, and to see it committed to earth or fire because unless you do that, the loved one dies for you again and again.” – Ann-Marie MacDonald
I Did Not Buy This Ticket is a short psychological horror story in which the player takes on the role of a professional mourner travelling between funerals on a bizarre night bus. The game will be exhibited in this year’s LudoNarraCon (LNC) with a demo available throughout the event.
Developer: Tiago Rech, Time Galleons
Released: 13th April 2023
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
Available on: Steam
Gameplay and Narrative
I Did Not Buy This Ticket is a visual novel and as such the majority of the gameplay consists of clicking through dialogue and making sporadic choices. The controls are simple and intuitive and while there is no autosave, manual saves are possible at any time. The game will take around one hour to play and packs a lot of narrative content into its short playtime and has more than five different endings to be discovered.
The game’s narrative focuses on Candelaria, who gets paid to mourn and weep at strangers’ funerals. Whilst travelling between funerals, she repeatedly finds herself on the mysterious Eigengrau Line where she is forced to confront trauma from her past in order to determine the course of her future. The dialogue is well written, with evocative language and sensitive handling of difficult themes such as death, guilt, and mourning. The story is compelling and engaging, with the various choices helping to immerse the player in the experience.
I Did Not Buy This Ticket has a unique and surreal art style in which every scene looks like a mixed media art piece. There are bits that look like a collage, sections that look painted, and block colours, all with lines drawn over in bold strokes or with crayon texture. The majority of scenes are black and white with pops of saturated and vibrant colours, especially red. There is some disturbing imagery paired with creepy but subtle animations, which add to the overall aesthetic and create a really original look.
The sound design is equally distinctive with ethereal drones, eerie vocals, static and twinkling piano used to create a disturbingly mesmerising cacophony of noises that create the perfect ambience for a psychological horror game of this kind. Sound effects such as the protagonist’s breath or the sound of passengers on the bus help bring the scenes to life and create a sense of the environment.
I Did Not Buy this Ticket is a memorable experience that offers a lot of replayability with multiple endings available. The narrative mixes emotional real-life experiences with the bizarre and the horrific to wonderful effect. The visual and audio elements are unique and abstract, adding to the all-around originality of the title. Overall, this is a great piece of interactive fiction that offers individuality and quality across all elements and I highly recommend it to all fans of psychological horror and visual novels.
If you like visual novels you may also enjoy these reviews:
The Wreck – Relive the Past and Alter the Present in this Emotional Visual Novel – Blake: The Visual Novel – A Futuristic Thriller! – A YEAR OF SPRINGS – Hard-Hitting Visual Novel!