Well, I can’t say I was expecting that. Perusing free games on Steam and finding the gems has become something of a specialty of mine over the years.
I’ve played Cry of Fear (and lasted all of five minutes), Path of Exile is still sitting on my desktop waiting to be played and appreciated, and yesterday I came across a short horror game called Moirai.
Reading up on it, I was intrigued by the fact that it was supposedly only a few minutes long – around about 10, in fact – but it left such a positive impression on those who played it. But wait a second, I thought. Isn’t long drawn out narratives for video games the “norm” these days? Why are these people not raging over having their time wasted?
Rationally, I suppose the fact that it’s free helped. But I could think of plenty of games on Steam that were free but still got panned for being too short. What gives, people?
Well, I had nothing to lose if I gave it a try at least. I downloaded it, and when the jovial music began, if I didn’t know any better, I would’ve sworn I was playing some kind of 2D Minecraft-esque little demo that somebody was working on.
It was bright, colourful, and charming. You begin the game in a small village, and can talk to several villagers, including a priest, who talk about a woman whose husband and son have gone missing. Yep, no way this could end well. You can explore the few houses that the game provides for you and talk to a few more people before you’re inevitably left with the only option of leaving the village and heading towards the farm on the outskirts.
There’s not much to do there either though, as the barn itself is locked and the only thing you can actually do here is poke sheep. Which I did. Incessantly. I wasted at least a minute or two doing this.
Your last destination is a cave, where you’re given a few items from some farmers and sent down into the depths to investigate “strange moaning noises”. Because that always ends well, even in cute little 2D adventures.
I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t played it, but the ending was not what I was expecting. It crafted an incredibly interesting mechanic that worked well with the simplicity of the game. I highly recommend it because if nothing else, it’s an interesting (and somewhat dark) way to kill a couple of minutes and it won’t cost you a thing. I’m left hoping the developer expands upon Moirai in the future, or design another little unnerving demo with similar unique mechanics.
10/10 would poke sheep again.