Mar 18, 2015
This Is Not A Test tells the story of a man’s attempts to survive a chemical weapon attack on his country. With just a truck, a few skills and a gun they must work their way through a variety of harrowing situations to survive the disaster. Or not survive as the case will likely be.
This Is Not a Test is all about choice. There are multiple ways to handle a situation. What items and skills your character has always affects what options there are. For example if you’re in your truck and gas is entering you can tape up your cars air vents to protect yourself, if you have duct tape or simply skilfully weave though the gas cloud to avoid it, if you have driving skill. Violence is much easier and indeed often only survivable if you have brawling or marksmanship skills as well.
TINT however isn’t that well written. Characters you meet are boring and one dimensional, there is minimal dialogue and what’s there is dull. The story just lacks tone and the desolate feeling that better visual novels like Overlive have. Interesting details are few and far between and there is just little payoff for reading it. Go ahead, shoot everyone you meet. You sure won’t feel bad about it. Some of the endings are ridiculous as well. Like the one where the military simply allows you to starve to death. Or be crushed. Are they the world’s most inept soldiers?
Speaking of feeling bad, death happens often in TINT. The story is quite short, a lot of the endings are bad and you die often unless you had the foresight to grab certain items. There are checkpoints and the game is short enough that restarting isn’t a huge bother. The game keeps track of what endings you’ve seen including ones where you die so it’s fun to try to find new and creative ways to kill yourself which isn’t something that often happens in a game.
This is Not a Test unfortunately features ads. While you’re working your way through the story and trying to immerse yourself in the world an ad banner is flashing away at the top of the screen. The ad isn’t even static; it is constantly moving and changing, trying to get your attention which is a superb way to distract someone when they’re trying to read. Removing the ad is part of the game’s solitary IAP, which is a $2.50 fee to remove ads as well as display color artwork rather than black and white. This is totally worth the cost.
Some of the endings in TINT make no sense at all. For example in one ending you’re trapped in a house that fills with gas, suffocating you. The problem with this is that I had already picked up a gas mask early in the game and had it with me still. Apparently, my character just decided to not use the gas mask he bought hours beforehand. There was no option to use it either. What the?
This Is Not a Test is worth a read, but it is nowhere near as good as a far more advanced game like Overlive and the writing and logic leave much to be deserved. Still, it’s certainly not a bad romp.