Coming to Terms with Death in The Almost Gone

The Almost Gone is a puzzle game that follows the spirit of a girl as she attempts to piece together what happened to her.  The game features a muted color palette and subdued soundtrack that fits well with the uneasy atmosphere.  At the start, your character wakes up in her house, but something is decidedly off.  As you begin to snoop around, you start to discover that this is most definitely not a happy family.  The dad sounds controlling, the mother is mixing alcohol and pills, and the unfortunate daughter is caught in the middle of it.

In order to solve puzzles and progress, you move between various dioramas and rotate them in order to view the space from various angles.  You can click on areas of interest in order to find clues or bring up information to expand on the story.  I generally enjoyed the puzzles in this game and found them to be pretty interesting and varied, though I struggled with a few of the codes I had to enter, especially the one in the neighborhood.

The story and symbolism is quite interesting, as well.  As I mentioned before, your character’s family is clearly troubled, and I almost felt like a detective as I slowly pieced the clues together.  Locations include your house, neighborhood, and a psychiatric hospital set during various times in the past and future.  The game gives you enough clues to theorize about the main character’s fate, though if you’re hoping for a definitive answer, you won’t find one here.  In fact, my biggest complaint was the game’s abrupt ending.  I don’t mind a game’s conclusion being open-ended, but I did want just a bit more closure than we got.

In my demo review, I had addressed a few issues I had, but they felt like less of a problem once I played the full game.  For one thing, I had trouble navigating the house in the demo because I got lost easily and struggled to remember how to get around.  While this is still a bit of an issue, I felt like the locations you explore later in the game were less confusing.  I also had trouble distinguishing between which “bubbles” only provided exposition and which were integral in solving the puzzles.  Now I realize that the bubbles with the more prominent white borders are the more important ones, while the others simply provide backstory and the like.

Video from YouTube User: Virtual Bastion

If you’re a fan of casual puzzle games, then I’d highly recommend The Almost Gone, with one caveat.  Before the game begins, you are shown a warning screen that this game contains mature topics, so do keep that in mind.  For me, the most upsetting thing involved the skeletal remains of birds and the implications behind that.  The Almost Gone is available on the Switch, PC, Mac, and mobile devices.  Although I got the game on sale for $1.99, I’m generally seeing a price of $9.99 for Switch and PC, though it appears to be a mere $0.99 on Android.  The game is only a few hours long, so you’ll certainly want to pick this one up on sale.

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