Sorry, James is an indie puzzle game brought to you by Konstructors Entertainment. Playing as a hacker, you have to decrypt sensitive files to unravel the story. It’s an interesting idea and one that really had the potential to be great. With somewhat unique gameplay and a reasonable story idea, here’s my break down of Sorry, James.
From the store page I was able to glean some form of a story. You play as a decrypting specialist (probably) called James Garner. You are tasked with “hacking” into some sensitive files that are given to you by your boss. As you decrypt each file, you soon realise that these are conversations from some girl called Elisa and a guy named Tom. However, we are only able to see Elisa’s side of the conversation. And, quite frankly this is where it got confusing. I’m not sure if this was a bug or what, but no matter what I did, I couldn’t see what Tom’s replies were So, I just felt confused. If it is a bug, then this seriously needs fixing and if it was deliberate, then it was just annoyingly cryptic.
Where is this going?
The texts are also overly sexual in most cases. Which is fine, but it doesn’t seem to reveal anything about what the story is actually about. All I seemed to glean from this was that Elisa was a hyper sexually frustrated young woman with some strange fantasies. What wasn’t clear was where the main character, James, fit into this. I was really disappointed by this because it really felt like they could have done more with it. It is never made clear (or at least not in my game) as to why you were decrypting these files in the first place. And the ending is just confusing.
Perhaps it would have made more sense if I had been able to see both sides of the conversations. Regardless, I felt very dissatisfied at the end especially after all the trouble of going through those puzzles.
So, this was perhaps the biggest part of the game. It is clear to me now the focus of the game was meant to be on the puzzles. And, in all fairness to them, initially they are quite interesting and fun to solve. The first puzzle you are tasked with solving is how to “login” to the game. Although not a difficult puzzle, if you don’t know what to look for it can be confusing at first. I felt like this was going to set a precedent for the rest of the puzzles in the game. I won’t reveal how you solve this initial puzzle because I think it is something everyone should figure out for themselves.
So, now you’re in and you can start hacking. And, for the most part the puzzles are fun and you feel satisfied when you finally figure it out. The puzzles themselves follow a similar style to something like Sudoku/ Minesweeper. You have to connect the correct amount of nodes to right number. They can only connect vertically or horizontally. And of course, these get harder as you make your way through the game and new types of nodes are added the further through you get.
Puzzle games should be a challenge
Unfortunately, after about part 3 (in a game of 5 parts) I was starting to get bored. The only “reward” you get is being able to open the files to see more of the story. A story which isn’t all that interesting in the first place. Anyway, once you complete one puzzle you are obviously free to move onto the next. But, other than becoming more complex, it doesn’t add anything new really. Some of the puzzles did feel challenging (as they should) and I did feel genuinely happy when I solved them. But, towards the end, I was just becoming so bored with it I looked up a walk-through because I didn’t want to spend the next two hours trying to figure it out.
It would have been nice to see more variety in the puzzles some different styles. As I say, initially, it was enjoyable but doing 50 puzzles that are all, pretty much, exactly the same; its gets repetitive.
Is it worth it?
Sorry, James is about £4 on Steam which isn’t too bad considering you get between 3-6 hours of gameplay depending on how good at puzzles you are. Or, how much patience you have. Perhaps someone who really enjoys these types of puzzles would enjoy this more. I personally think they could have taken out the story altogether because it really doesn’t add anything. It isn’t the type of game you would play again either. You can clearly see that someone has put some love into this, and I would never take that away from them. But, this game isn’t really anything exciting.
The graphics are cool as it has the old school computer look going for it. And, the sound effects and music work really well I thought. I think these were the best parts of the game. So, kudos to the developers for that. I just think they need to work on the gameplay a little more.