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- January 9, 2022
The Kids We Were, is a narrative adventure game that takes you through a back to the future type story. You will take control of Minato, a kid in Japan.Most of the story will be set in the 1980s( The late Japanese showa era). The game was originally made for mobile devices in February 2020, it was later released for Nintendo Switch, and will be released for PC January 13th 2021 .
" Bring On The Narrative. "
While The Kids We Were is a very heavy narrative game,it plays more like a cinematic adventure than an actual game. It will become apparent in your playthrough, most of your 6-8 hours of gameplay, plus another hour for the bonus story will be spent reading dialogue and following along in the always twisting narrative. There is very little gameplay present in this “game”, and it depends on what you really like if it will suit you. We honestly can say it is award winning for sure on the narrative. So if you like a game with a story then this is a game for you, but it is played at a really slow pace.
The main story centres around Minato and his family. Early on in the game you will be led down a few of the NPC dialogue chains that slowly burn the story into you. The Kids We Were achieve this by giving you snippets of the story, but leaving lots of it out so you do not know what is around the corner. We found it very intriguing and interesting. Also some of the subjects can be emotional for some, and can tug on your heart strings from the minute go.
As we traverse our way through the streets of Kagami, we are greeted with a nice captivating and minimalistic voxel world. The town itself is actually pretty vibrant, charming and welcoming. While you are in Kamagi you are actually on your first quest,to find your father, while very vague all the information you have of him is that he used to live in this town. So off we set looking for information about our father, we talked to the NPCs about anything they knew about my father or his family name, with a few snippets of information here or there it was not looking good. The game then hands you a notebook with these 7 mysteries that need to be solved. Shortly you get thrown your first twist in a line of many, we get teleported to the same spot but in the 1980s a time before Minato was actually born.
The Kids We Were, Soon helps you realize you are in the 1980s. Sure the game throws the point you are going back to the past in the narrative,Gagex actually went a step further by making you notice the little changes to the town of Kagami. Gone are the big apartment buildings and modern designs, You will now be presented with a more traditional style japanese architecture. Even with the voxel design we were still able to grasp onto what the game was throwing at us.
" On The Hunt For Collectables. "
Keeping with the 1980s theme a nice touch the developers threw in was retro items, like phones,magazines and even candies. These will be in the form of collectibles, you will have a total of 91 of them to collect in fact. The game will introduce you to them very early on when transported to the 1980s town so you can start collecting, You will find these scattered all over the place, From story missions or in a dream machine(ball vending machine), to use the dream machine you will need to use your gold coins you find scattered throughout the game also, so always check your corners at all times as both the coins and items, have no visual representation and can not be seen unless you are beside were they are and then you will get a visual cue to interact.
" A Very Slow Paced Game . "
As we dived deeper in to the game, we found ourself more immersed into the unique story, which in itself is pretty solid, then they give you a few side stories per-se. These are the ones you will do for the 7 mysteries, Some of these lacked depth but nearly all were good. Most of the narrative that the game touches on, is usually very sad, heartbreaking and emotional. The game to say the least can take any person on an emotional journey. I found myself wondering how they could fit so many topics like cancer and domestic abuse into the narrative without it feeling overwhelming, but I really think the designers did a good job in integrating them all well.
My main issue with the game is, how slow the pace of it is. I am one for a very good story, but I felt like The Kids We Were, dragged out the story in times when it was not needed. It is nice building suspense and leaving parts out till later, but we found numerous times when one piece of the narrative was given to us, for us then to walk a few steps to be greeted with yet another dialogue chain, about the same topic as the previous. It is your own feeling if you like these slow delivery games, We value them too but at some points the game feels like a drag and even the town feels desolate and boring walking back and forth between just a few streets for hours. I feel if you guys are going to play this one i would not do it in one sitting to minimize the potential burnout from a heart melting story.
When it comes to The Kids We Were, it is a very hard one to judge, and it literally comes down to how you like the delivery of the story. After all this game is a cinematic adventure and the developers are not trying to hide that from you. So if you are looking for a story game with just as much gameplay, then this game is not for you, but if you are looking for a game with a very deep story with lots of narrative and text for you to read without having to do very much in terms of gameplay wise then this is definitely the game for you. There is no doubt in my mind the narrative is strong in this game, if you are willing to give it a chance.
- Strong Narrative, Slowly Delivered7
"A narrative heavy game, It touches on some sensitive topics and issues, and throws them at you with a lot of twists, With the Time travel aspect to the story it keeps you intrigued throughout. Although not much in the way of actual gameplay, if story is your thing this is for you. "
- Art Direction7
- Sound Direction8