Developer: Chubby Pixel
Publisher: Chubby Pixel
Release Date: 10 May 2018
Price: $7.99 / £7.19
Reviewed by Pat Lunn
Many games have tried to capture the sensation of dreaming. It’s a unique, limitless aspect of the human experience that gives developers the freedom to just get a little weird. That being said, no game has quite gone about the concept in the way Chubby Pixel have approached their new puzzle platformer, Suicide Guy.
Living The Dream
Suicide Guy follows the struggles of an overweight man who has fallen asleep while watching the TV. In his bizarre dreamscape, the unnamed man finds himself in an American diner when the TV suddenly turns on and tells him that the beer that was in his hand as he fell asleep is about to fall on the floor. In a desperate rush to save his beverage, you must charge throughout his dreamscape and find a way to wake up.
Waking up requires dying in the dream. And so, with this incredibly convoluted setup out of the way, we come to the meat of the game. Jump into various worlds from the diner hub, and find a way to kill the poor bloke in each one. With each demise he comes one step closer to waking up and one step closer to saving his precious beer. If you managed to follow that, you might be surprised when I say that the over-arching concept of the game is one of the easiest things to understand about it.
The Inception of A Dream
Each level only has one, sure-fire way to kill yourself, and so you have to work out which of the millions of forms of suicide at your disposal is the one the developer deemed correct.
For example, there's one level set in a lighthouse. It would be easy to throw yourself from the lighthouse, and only slightly harder to smash the window to slit your throat with a section of glass.
However the mode of death you must create for yourself involves shining a light in the eye of a gigantic whale off the coast, enticing it to come over and swallow the entire observation deck, yourself included. As you might imagine, this game could be considered a little weird.
Apart from the puzzle element, tone varies wildly across the levels. Many levels are based on aspects of pop culture, warped just enough to avoid copyright issues. These include a Mario stage, a challenge set around the Iron Giant and one level set solely in The Simpsons' house. Giving the developers the benefit of the doubt, and assuming they weren’t just dumping ideas from their favorite TV series and films, it's a pretty cool way of depicting the TV our unlikely hero fell asleep in front of influencing his subconscious.
This game has quite a few cool ideas to be honest. The platform elements are well designed, and a variety of interesting concepts keep the levels fresh. In the Mario-themed level, you have to use giant mushrooms to create bigger platforms to jump across, while the Iron Giant stage sees you complete an electricity-based platform puzzle. This variety all adds up to an engaging experience, as I found myself rushing into the next challenge just to find out what puzzles and challenges lay ahead.
When you examine each individual aspect of Suicide Guy it all works in theory. Each puzzle is interestingly constructed, the controls are good and the levels have enticing themes with a satisfying payoff when you bite the dust. However, when you put all the components of this game together it just feels a little too out there. The concept is insane, and the atmospheric whiplash from level to level is almost too much to bear.
Pros & Cons
+ Interesting level design
+ Good platforming
+ Lots of variety
- A little convoluted
- Unintuitive puzzle solutions