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Preview: Hitchhiker - A Mystery Game (PC)By Ofisil At 24.03.2020 21:06

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The journey begins inside the car of a farmer. This friendly fellow who offered you this ride has a passion for two things: raisins, and never shutting his darn mouth - and it's really, really hard to decide which of the two is worse. You'll soon realise that this annoyingly talkative fellow isn't just a farmer, though, but something… else. Forget the Kansas-like wheat fields that you can see out of the window. This is basically purgatory, or something along these lines.

Unlike the fantastic, cyberpunk-flavoured Neo Cab, whose world is very real despite the sci-fi, futuristic setting, Hitchhiker is an extremely surreal experience, whose bizarre nature is not exactly handled in a very subtle way. The farmer, as well as the rest of the people whose cars the protagonist will enter later on, almost blatantly say what they should actually insinuate: that this is all just a metaphorical veil. Is it a dream? A dive into his subconscious? Limbo? Hell itself?

…It's hard to tell, but the presentation lacks that extra something that would make you become invested in solving the mystery. Speaking of mystery, your mission is to learn your own backstory; who you are, and what is "hidden" from you - probably from your own self. Once again, it is how this is all delivered. The bulk of the… gameplay, revolves around listening to the drivers spew out numerous, pseudo-philosophical paragraphs that are meant to sound "deep," but end up being sleep-inducing.

It's not because of the quality of the voice-acting. The people behind the microphone have done more than a decent job. The problem is the writing. Have you seen any of those movies where an old wise man (usually Morgan Freeman) rambles on about… stuff? Well, the same happens here, but it's more like talking to a conspiracy nut, as these people act as if they are smart, but are most definitely not. Most importantly, you aren't really in control of the situation.

Hitchhiker is a visual novel. Instead of stationary backdrops and 2D - and usually well-endowed - characters, you are inside a car, and can observe the 3D world around you, which, by the way, looks pretty good, despite the obviously small budget that the developing team had to work with. Being a visual novel, you get the chance to choose between certain dialogue options, but they don't affect the outcome as much as they should. Long story short this just isn't a fun ride.

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