Simulacra 2, originally a phone game (for iOS and Android), has gotten a PC release, and I got the task of playing. I do like puzzle games, but as you all probably know by now, I am really bad at horror. Well, Simulacra 2 is a mix of both, so this could go both ways. Time to find out!
Name: Simulacra 2
Developer: Kaigan Games
Publisher: Another Indie
Released: 30.01.2020 (PC)
Platforms: PC, iOS, Android
Reviewed on: PC
Acquired: A copy of this game was provided by a publisher for review purpose
Simulacra 2, the follow-up to the “lost phone horror game” Simulacra (didn’t see that name coming, did you?), follows the mysterious death of Kimera influencer Maya Crane. You start out as either a reporter or a skeptic detective, and although it doesn’t have any real consequences who/what you choose to play as, it does make some cutscenes alter.
First and foremost, I want to write a bit about the gameplay, which mostly consists of reading texts and solving puzzles. And it’s here I want to focus on the puzzles. Generally speaking, they are pretty good. They’re quite easy to solve, but you do need to pay attention to details in texts, pictures, etc. in order to solve them all. The game also has some replay value, as there are different endings based on your ability to solve puzzles, but as I got the best ending in my first playthrough I never had a reason to play it again (nor actually a desire, but more on that later).
The controls are also rather good, given that the entire game is played on a smartphone, with the mouse acting as your finger. It all works well, and it’s easy to simply pick up and get going. The occasional cutscenes are all well-made, with good lighting, good resolution and pretty decent sounds, the acting, however, is sub-par, but more on that below.
Where do I start? Well, let’s start out with my main issue with Simulacra 2. The acting. As I wrote in the “good” section, the cutscenes themselves are technically sound. Unfortunately, that does not help the bad acting from the different actors and actresses. The cutscenes feel far from natural, with a stiff reading of the script, a less than believable detective that acts like a “mentor” (of sorts), and actors that seem to have little to no chemistry between them. I also think there’s a bit too much waiting between things happening in the game, for example, you have to wait to receive texts for apps to unlock and puzzles to actual active.
In addition, the game does not do itself any favors on PC, with it all looking like a smart-phone. It takes up about one-third of my entire screen (as in, there are huge borders on each side, which do include a background, but it might as well have been entirely black) and although, as I wrote above, the mouse acting as a finger works well technically, it looks very odd, especially since the “phone” has a more iPhone-like look than it does an Android.
All things considered, I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed with Simulacra 2. Although it technically works well, it is very clearly a game made to be a cheap phone-game and not a PC game (although the price is at the time of writing 55NOK vs 58NOK, so money-wise it’s not a considerable difference). The most pressing issue, however, is how far from believable the story is, even though I found it incredibly boring. The game might be more enjoyable if you’ve played the original, but for my part, the only thing that saves it from a bad score is its low price.
User Review( votes)
- Okay looking cutscenes
- Okay controls (probably better on a phone/tablet)
- Good puzzles (if a bit too easy)
- Terrible acting
- Waiting times between texts