Bemusing is really the only way to describe this game. From start to finish Selfie: Sisters of the Amniotic Lens is filled with bizarre concepts as you are thrown into a 1980’s inspired setting to deal with a disturbing story involving a cult, alternate dimensions and a lot of flies. Rail Slaves Games’ horror sci-fi title Is definitely not a game that is going to appeal to everyone and you’ll know within 5 minutes if this is a game you’re going to enjoy or not.
Selfie’s obscure story focuses around an extremist cult that carves wounds into themselves believing these acts will grant passageways to alternate dimensions. Before you even start playing this game you must carve your own wound (don’t worry not literally) as you are met with the game’s most bizarre concept. After filling out your name you are asked to “shed your skin and tell me what lies beneath. What tears do you cry that are worth bottling?” Essentially you are asked to bare your soul in text form, place it into a virtual bottle and send it on its way to be judged by the rest of the internet. Anyone who’s read the comment sections of just about any media outlet will know just how much of a mistake that can be.
When you actually enter the game’s scenario it’s split into two distinct sections. The first of these has you sitting in a room with a retro television, a bunch of busy flies and a dismembered female corpse lounging in a chair next to you. The object in the first section is to focus your reticule over a number of flies floating around the room so that they emanate a glowing purple mist and subsequently turn on the television, a bizarre notion to say the least. In fact personally the first time I didn’t have the foggiest idea what to do and had to exit and start again to reread the instructions. The actual task can be rather frustrating as the flies’ paths are erratic and unpredictable, although it does get easier each time you’re forced to do it.
Once you’ve managed to successfully get a couple of flies to expel a light purple haze the television will burst into life displaying a series of pixelated teletext pages. The actual images displayed are really unimportant overall to the progression of the game. They’re there mostly to display some thought provoking and occasionally comical messages. What you’re mostly looking for is alternate angles of the room featuring a large almost mechanical figure to focus in on. The importance of this figure is never really explained (or maybe I just missed the point) nor is the dismembered corpse, because as soon as you get the two images you are sent into the second section of the gameplay.
So after hanging out in a smoky, dimly lit room with a bunch of flies, a corpse and a mechanical man what’s the next logical stage? Yup you got it, floating in space through wireframe mannequins shooting red balls and wireframe flies. Not sure bizarre quite covers it. You direct your current course with the mouse and then alter your speed using the scroll button. Like the previous section the goal is a little unclear when you first arrive and you end up just aimless floating through the darkness. The only indicator you get is a health bar connected to a red ball located within one of the empty dolls. It takes four steps as you destroy the orbs in all 3 mannequins before having to defeat a number of flies up close. Destroying the orbs is generally very simple but what’s frustrating about this section is the wait floating from place to place. Even at max speed it can take several minutes to reach your target and with nothing to in between to occupy it can get incredibly boring very fast.
So what’s your reward for finishing Selfie: Sisters of the Amniotic Lens’ two sections? A new piece of text to add some more depth to the story and you get to repeat the same two scenarios several more times. Besides a new dark, emo song about slashing wrists or death in general while you’re fly focusing there’s no difference to the gameplay in any way. While the industrial, psychedelic folk music won’t appeal to a lot of people it does help set the mood for the game. Even the graphics, while not particularly good looking help to add to this unusual atmosphere. Really the only thing pushing players forward is the increasingly confusing plot. Well that is unless you want to obtain people confessions from the floating bits of jetsam surrounding the space figures and condemn or free them.
The best way to describe Selfie: Sisters of the Amniotic Lens is…bizarre – a word that’s probably been overused during the course of this review. The dark, sinister setting starts off fairly strong and the element of reading peoples thoughts in virtual bottle message form is a fairly interesting concept but it’s not one everyone is going to take seriously. There’s a huge lack of direction and gameplay is incredibly repetitive, tedious and just downright frustrating.
This review is based off a review code of Selfie: Sisters of the Amniotic Lens provided by Kiss Ltd.
This review was originally published on the site GamersFTW which unfortunately has now been taken down. It’s been published on my personal blog, DanielVaughanReviews, out of respect for the developers/publishers that were kind enough to give me review copy of their game.