Euclidean: The Five Stages of Grief in 45 Minutes

WARNING : this might start off sounding like a review for a really bad game.

That would be because its really hard to talk about Euclidean without spoiling the whole thing; so instead of ranking this thing like a game I will describe what it did to me.

I got home from class at 8:00 2 days ago with an email from my boss accompanied by an apologetic note and a review code. I rubbed the exhaustion from my temples, punched in the code and started the download. By the time I got back from fetching leftovers from the fridge the download was complete so loaded in and got… nothing but an admittedly lovely panorama. once I had spent about 45 seconds trying to figure out why I couldn’t move I was plunged into the game proper.

You will notice descent is a common theme in this review. Such is intentional.

The first level began and I died. No, that wasn’t a metaphor or a description of the plot. I just died. I couldn’t see why, I got some vague note about being watched, so I reloaded. That’s when I died again. the controls didn’t work. I immediately set to writing this review, it would have been a piece about scammy (I know that’s not a word) shovelware and the slimy devs that flood steam with a subtitle that read ‘well, that was depressing’. I didn’t feel like writing at the moment (it was nearly 9:30 and I hadn’t done my nightly prayer) so I locked it down, took my medication and went to bed.

I got up the next morning and decided that 20 seconds into level 1 was not enough to make an informed decision about anything so I loaded back up. Fresh eyed and awake I started the game back up. I was immediately reminded about how bad the graphics were but, being a masochist I decided I would quit on level 2. I just needed to get enough done to understand why the dev would be crazy enough to release this thing. After about an hour I realized that the controls did in fact work, they were just extremely sluggish. Eventually I managed to stumble my way through the first level. It was a grueling, wipe-filled experience that presented many questions and answered none but after 20 minutes I reached the goal.

Levels 2, 3 and 4 passed as frustration devolved into malaise and finally grim determination. I no longer cared for the answers. I was at level 6 and, besides the realization that the dev team and I likely shared interests when it came to light reading, had learned nothing. My mind wandered to one of my favorite stories (Nyarlethotep) as I made my way down. I reached the final level and… well, it was over.

That day I had 2 classes (game design and level design, if you care) and a club meeting, plus I was a week behind in paperwork so I packed up and set off for the day. I got home at about 5 that evening and Euclidean’s ending had been on my mind the entire time. I had fired an email or two off to the design team and gotten a response before bed. By then I had played a few levels and noticed that some of them had multiple goalposts but the effect of reaching them seemed negligible.

After a series of emails I had chosen on a subtitle for the game: ‘The 5 Stages of Grief in 45 minutes’. I sent the subtitle to the client and in return received a rough draft of the design document. On one side were 5 words.

Denial

Anger

Bargaining

Depression

Acceptance

Somehow the team had predicted every step of my journey through Euclidean. I was… amazed. I don’t know if I can recommend this game as anything as an interesting spiritual journey for people like me who are into that kind of thing but I think that’s all I’m comfortable saying about this piece as anything else would spoil it.

In the end this is a 3.99 USD title and I suppose that’s okay.

carsonzxy
Haile Carson is a student of game design from Taunton MA. He is the president and founder of his local game design club and has been a passionate fan of the medium for nearly 30 years.

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