Serena is a thought stirring adventure that takes place in a lonely cabin in the woods. The entire game plays out in a single room cabin and should take no more than two hours to complete. There is no saving, no title screen, and no settings to adjust. When you execute the desktop shortcut you are immediately in the game, exploring the small but well defined world of the central character’s thoughts and surroundings. This is a rather unique game in a world of cookie cutters and it was a refreshing change from the typical mystery game.
Plot – The plot of this game leads you through an interesting unravel of a strange turn of events. A lot can’t be said without spoiling the whole thing but I must remark that when the game started I was rolling my eyes, but as the plot unfolded I was eagerly and impatiently scurrying to reveal the truth. The ending of this game is a delightful surprise and had I not endured the strange prelude and odd premise I would have missed out on an emotionally enthralling story.
Voice Over – The voice of the main character, a critical input in this unusual gaming experience, was wonderfully performed by Josh Mandel. He takes command of the character and despite a dodgy script guides you gracefully through the range of human emotions using his commanding and unique voice.
Object Importance – This game is designed around a clever concept. Interacting with items becomes more than just clicking, receiving feedback and moving on. In order to fully benefit from an object in this short little game you must consult an item and return to it often because new information can change the thoughts the protagonist reveals when viewing a particular item. This gives the world great depth despite being the size of a small one room cabin.
Narration – The narration in this game, while wonderfully executed was in my opinion very poorly written. Vocalized thoughts and cryptic notes were very wordy and tried too hard to be ominous which gave them a very stand-offish presence. Because of the nature of the development of this game these short comings can be easily forgiven. The game was, after all, produced in a matter of weeks. Not the months or years of a traditional game development.
The game is short and light on the wallet (In fact, It is free) so I suggest if you are still reading reviews that you stop evaluating the risks and buy it! Worst case scenario you’ve lost a few mouse clicks and an hour of your time, alternatively you’ll experience a thought provoking game and walk away satisfied with this interesting little oddity of a game.
In addition to being an interesting game Serena also has a very interesting story behind its inception and creation. You can read an article that goes into the development in great detail at kotaku.
Visit the official website for Serena below!
It’s free! Get it on steam now!