Thursday, October 25, 2012

Review: 5 Days a Stranger

(I want to quickly mention that I decided I should play '5 days' after playing 'Slender' for ten minutes and totally freaking out and being too scared to play Slender anymore  --that game is fucking scary.)

Happy Halloween.  This last weekend I played through 5 Days a Stranger, the first game of the Chzo Mythos; a PC game series by Yahtzee Croshaw, spanning 5 point and click adventure games of the 'Psychological Horror' Genre.

I was pleased with 5 Days a Stranger.  The graphics and sound aren't great, it doesn't have brilliant gameplay by any means, but the plot, characterization, and general execution of the story are solid.  I put in about 3-4 hours to beat the game, and I would say that it was definitely worth that time.

I will admit that midway through day 3 I went to Gamefaqs to find help.  I had gotten to the point where I was walking back and forth, scouring each room, over and over again, and finding nothing.  The game was losing its fun, replaced by frustration. I was getting tired of the sound of my characters footsteps. So I did what I thought was best to preserve my enjoyment of the game- I cheated.  That is, I found a walkthrough and I followed it.

The general interface could use some work.  Sometimes I was trying to click on a menu item or action, and my character would just start walking to the corner of the screen where the menu is located.  This happened more than a few times, actually.  The gameplay quirks compounded my frustration at not solving puzzles, and I went back to the walkthrough whenever I felt this way, so that I could focus more on the unfolding plot. 

Though I may criticize, I think it is important to note that this is an amateur game, made by one person and the first in a series.  There are bound to be some bugs.  I don't think I could do any better. 

The story and the characters kept me playing.  And while the interface somewhat hampered the gameplay, and I couldn't figure out some of the puzzles, It was still an enjoyable gaming experience and I appreciate that.  After I broke the seal on the walkthrough, I had a great time playing through the game to the end.  

The gameplay of '5 days' is mostly a vehicle for the plot.  And while that vehicle may need some of its belts changed, and probably have the suspension looked at, the ride is worth it.  (Well look at that, a car metaphor)  

I recommend "Five Days a Stranger."  


P.S.  I just started playing the sequel:  7 days a skeptic, and there are some things I am excited about.  First, the interface/pointer system is drastically improved.  I expect that this will greatly reduce the frustration factor with the game mechanics. 
A couple other details are:  it takes place in space.  That might be cool.  You play as the ships counselor.  I've been around the ship, and met the lead characters, and I'm excited to see how they interact as the plot moves forward.  Fun times!


  1. "Slender" is a one-trick pony: It's terrifying for a few minutes, then it stops being scary and just gets frustrating. I never beat it, but I'll also never play it again, as once you've played it a few times, you've seen just about all you need to see.

    I'm thinking about checking this one out, though. Looks interesting and I've heard it's scary. Scary games are certainly hard to come by!

    Also, have you played "The 4th Wall", or "Imscared: A Pixelated Nightmare"? If not, you should check them out. Similar to "Slender" in that they are fairly quick to beat, but have a few good scares.

  2. I haven't played either of those games. I'll have a look, thanks!

    I do recommend the Chzo Mythos games. I think they're pretty scary, and the plot, characters and dialogue are great.