Existentialism is a hell of a thing. It forces us to question our very being to the core in an attempt to understand who, what, and why we are. Some games do touch upon this, but none quite so much as Event. From developer Ocelot Society, Event asks these questions of the player while they survive in the cold darkness of space.
Set in an alternate timeline, Earth's launch into space drastically changed our past. Rather than keep a division between the countries, it instead set aflame an era of discovery, pushing our boundaries in the far reaches of space. During this time, a new class division forms between the populace: the Selenites, a rich sect capable of taking to the stars through their plentiful resources, and then pretty much everyone else. You're sent on a new mission, Europa-11, as a far flung attempt to reach Jupiter's icy moon Europa.
Through a series of questions and text exposition early in the game, it sets up much of your backstory as well as the overall plot of the game. These questions craft your "persona" as you decide if you're a war orphan or more. While these create what amounts to "you" in game, I didn't see or feel much of their impact during the later half of the game. Once all is said and done and your mission ends up going terribly awry, you finally end up on a cruise ship in space from the 1980s with Kaizen-85.
Like I said, it's an alternate timeline.
Kaizen is the other personality in the game you'll be interacting with. Kaizen is not a person, and is rather an "it." An artificial intelligence (AI) in fact, the AI of the ship you find yourself on floating through space. It immediately greets you in a very HAL-9000 (2001: A Space Odyssey) way, hoping to start you on your way to dismantling a portion of the ship for your safety and the ability to return to Earth. Along the way, expect it to attempt to guide you around the ship in order to find your way to the bridge while potentially going off in tangents or honestly not being very helpful.
Really, Kaizen is kind of a jerk.
Interacting with Kaizen is like the scene from Alien where Ripley types up responses to Mother, the Nostromo's ship AI. It's done via terminals spread around the inside and outside of the ship. Since moving throughout the game and discovering clues only requires using the mouse buttons to move and the mouse itself to look around, that frees up the keyboard to talk with Kaizen or complete puzzles at the terminals themselves. The puzzles range in complexity, though I'll admit there was one in particular I became stuck on and Kaizen was absolutely zero help. It then proceeded to let me die, even as I pleaded with it.
The game contains multiple endings, all depending on how you manage to complete the puzzles. It's very similar to The Stanley Parable in this sense, where each choice you make can change a number of other things. I ended up with what can only be called the "main" (see bad) ending where I followed instructions like a good boy. However, there's more out there.
My only real chief complaint with the game, other than dealing with Kaizen's annoying habit of repeating itself over and over as I typed in very specific requests I had used previously, were the random game stutters I experienced. There were times the game would suddenly stop for a few seconds before registering and moving forward. It was odd, but not game breaking in any sense.
Event is definitely an experience. That's the best way to put it. It's in the same vein of The Stanley Parable, but without a narrator's guidance of chastisement. Instead, you get a quirky AI, a mystery to solve, and some great puzzles to figure out. It'll be even better if you love old school looking DOS computers and hacking.Note: The Event review is based on a digital platform copy of the game, provided by the publisher.