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The Search

A story-driven puzzle-adventure set in a mysterious world where art comes to life! · By Jason Godbey

Impressions on The Search

A topic by Matt|Lieutier created Jul 11, 2020 Views: 441 Replies: 1
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I found The Search to be a fairly good adventure-puzzle game. The puzzles were fun, if a bit on the easy side, and the concept behind them was interesting. I liked the symbolism of the journey of self-discovery, and the True Artist ending was a striking and clever use of the medium. The atmosphere was also great.

However, there is one major flaw that, in my eyes, really drags the experience down. After almost every note you find from "The Invisible", there is a short monologue from the main character describing exactly what the note meant and what texts and philosophical or psychological theory the note alluded to. This gave me the sense of a game insecure in its own symbolism, feeling the need to explain exactly what it means at every turn in fear that the player wouldn't "get it". This would be bad in any game, I feel, but especially in one so explicitly about finding meaning for oneself. The Wasteland ending, with pretty clear symbolism followed by a monologue explaining it and simultaneously telling the player about the danger of "passively accepting and consuming realities other people give us", felt almost like a parody of itself.

On top of this, the monologues grind the game's pace to a screeching halt. I feel they would have been more bearable (though I'd still advice to remove them) if the player was able to continue looking around while they played in the background, instead of needing to stop everything to hear them.

In short, The Search is a strong, intriguing experience, greatly weakened by a need to make sure every player knows exactly what it is trying to convey at every point.

(2 edits)

I agree with all of this. I rarely skip audio or text in video games, but in this game I got to a point where I just realized  that the monologues were only ever going to explain the written notes, and from then on I just skipped every piece of dialogue, except for when the main character was reading the notes themselves. I'd say that the way that The Witness (which, to be fair, is fairly different in style) handles quotes is much better for me personally. They just read the quote with enough emotion to allow you to comprehend the message that is being conveyed, and they leave it at that. They don't try to explain it, they just let you try to understand it for yourself. Also, you can control your character while the quotes are read, so the length is never of any burden.