Published on June 6th, 2018 | by Michael Newman0
As a kid, my friends and I thought it would be awesome to make a stop action movie using our Star Wars action figures and a VHS Camcorder, which was cutting-edge back in the day. We painstakingly spent three hours moving each of the figures frame-by-frame to make an epic movie full of far-off space adventures and gigantic laser gun battles. We carefully placed the VHS tape into the player (hey, it was the 80’s after all) and sat back to enjoy our creation. Three hours of work amounted to about one minute of actual movie. The point is that creating something utilizing stop-motion based animation takes a lot of work and a boatload of patience. That’s great and all, but what does this have to do with Disdoored? Well, read on and you will see…
Disdoored is an extremely colorful and unique survival game with plants, creatures and structures created carefully by hand using Plasticine (or for those who were lucky enough to have art class in elementary school…modeling clay). The team at Bitbox Ltd. state that it took nearly 20 pounds of Plasticine and over 20,000 still shots to bring the Disdoored world to life and their hard work is definitely evident throughout the game. Each of the Plasticine models were hand-sculpted and meticulously hand-painted. In this day and age where so many games are…well, computer generated, it’s refreshing to see developers go back to old-school animation techniques. While many games can claim to be photo-realistic, this one in particular looks as if Gumby himself jumped from the television screen and into your computer. It really must be seen to be believed.
The art style will likely be what draws people to the game initially, but style can only take you so far. The story starts out interesting enough, as mysterious doors randomly start popping up and releasing monsters and it is up to a small carnivorous plant named Lily and you (and up to three other friends) to discover the secret to closing the doors and saving the world. Lily is a hungry little girl though, so she will regularly request that you feed her specific items (meat, wood, tools…she’s not too finnicky) and the story promises that once she is big and strong that she will hold the key to closing the doors for good. Sounds simple enough doesn’t it?
You begin the game in a procedurally generated land and your first order of business is finding a suitable place to plant Lily. Once that is complete you are pretty much left on your own without any instructions, tutorials, or missions to guide your path. The left-hand side of the screen shows you the different tools, buildings, and weapons at your disposal. Only a couple of these items are unlocked in the beginning but as you play the game you will “remember” how to make something (which unlocks it) or you will find floating scrolls near skeletons (all clay people have skeletons…don’t they?) which will unlock items as well. If you do have to make something, each item will require a set amount of resources to create, and the resources can be acquired by mining for them, chopping down plants, or by killing creatures. There is a lot of trial and error and figuring out the secrets as you go along. This game is all about exploration and experimentation, while making sure you find enough food, medicine and gold to survive, but the most important thing is keeping your little Lily protected at all times.
In later stages of the game you can start building walls and structures to protect Lily and yourself from the numerous beasties that inhabit the world. You can also build a garden and plant various types of fruits and vegetables, which provides sustenance and can also produce gold. You can even domesticate animals or create new breeds of animals that will also help you and Lily survive. If farming and homesteading is not your cup of tea, there are plenty of opportunities to build weapons and armor or to go off exploring instead. While exploring, there are numerous doors around the world that you can enter to gain new weapons or wealth, but they may be dangerous so take caution before venturing forth with abandon. That being said, there are literally hundreds of things that you can uncover, explore and experience and during my numerous playthroughs I learned something new each and every time.
My next little warning/reminder will help you determine if this game is for you. The game is fascinating, with tons to do, but as I mentioned above there are no tutorials, hints, FAQs, etc. – literally, nothing. Since I had an early copy of the game there was very little information to go on, so I learned it all through trial and error. If you are not the type of gamer who enjoys experimenting and uncovering things on your own with little/no guidance, then this game will most likely feel very overwhelming in the beginning. I definitely encourage those who play it to really spend some time figuring things out. It’s not complicated, and much of it is actually quite intuitive, you just won’t get any help along the way.
Disdoored is an amazing achievement in visual quality and offers an extremely fun and unique twist on the survival game genre. If you like survival games (Don’t Starve, for example) and aren’t scared off by the lack of direction, then this is a game for you. It’s a game that I had a hard time putting down, and even occasionally found myself laying in bed thinking about what I could try next. So, go grab Gumby, Pokey and Mr. Bill, and play Disdoored with all of your friends. You won’t be disappointed!
What I liked: Amazing visuals, catchy music, fascinating gameplay
What I liked less: Lack of direction for brand new players
4 out of 5 Stars