“Weird heroes and mould-breaking champions exist as living proof to those who need it that the tyranny of ‘the rat race’ is not yet final.” – Hunter S. Thompson
Released: 31st August 2019
Price: Name your own
Available on: itch.io
TGIAL (The Game is a Lie) is a Community Game Jam project made in 48 hours by a single person, ItsJustJord. For the sake of transparency, I should state that I am only aware of this game because I know the developer from an online community, but as always, this will be an impartial review!
The short game is a psychological horror and puzzle game set in the office building of a small start-up company. Multiple offices are empty and it is unclear why! The player can try to explore and decipher the mystery or, keep their head down like a good little minion!
Despite the one-man team and 48hr time limit, TGIAL boasts the following key features:
- 100% custom assets
- A different game each play-through
- The story is revealed through exploration
- Unique video integration
If you’re interested in the game jam process or the making of this game you can also check out ItsJustJord’s video – I MADE A GAME IN 48 HRS WITH NO CODE – Community Game Jam!
TGIAL is a very short game, taking less than 5 minutes to play, and the randomised elements are minimal, meaning that it doesn’t offer too much in the way of replayability but it does offer a unique and ponderous experience!
The gameplay is simple, with the usual WASD + E controls. The player takes on the role of an employee and the basic premise is to collect key-cards and gain access to more of the office building, uncovering its secrets and learn about the general running of the office building via exploration of the environment.
It quickly becomes clear that TGIAL is making a comment on the business world, big brother bosses and the overarching rat-race of it all, this gives the game a darker edge and provides the psychological horror elements!
TGIAL placed 226th out of 1044 entered game submissions for the community Game Jam, ranking in the top quarter of all entries and it’s easy to see why. It offers an interesting narrative and while the theme and tone styling remind me of The Stanley Parable, TGIAL definitely has a unique touch that set’s it apart.
Being created in 48hours by a single person, the game is understandably short, but with the exception of some minor flaws (such as a spelling mistake in the posters), it is a polished and complete experience, made with love and custom assets and is undeniably an impressive feat!
TGIAL is probably not for everyone, it’s a little obscure and provides minimal playtime. However, it is available on itch.io on a ‘name your own price’ basis, so if it does appeal, there is very little risk in trying it out! I’d certainly recommend it to anyone looking for a short, dark, abstract experience.