In What Happened, we play a high school student named Stiles. This one is going through a difficult time. The father died, the girlfriend lost, she is now being screwed by his former best friend, plus the drug acid and suicidal thoughts. Our test clarifies whether the mixture of serious game and walking simulator is entertaining.
Before we really get into the game, a little hint: What Happened shouldn't be rated as a typical game, because the game should show you how the psyche of a teenager can be influenced or completely destroyed. The title therefore picks up on topics that not everyone will suit or suit. But what exactly is What Happened and how does it feel? We'll tell you - so be ready for a trip you won't soon forget.
You know: everything starts in the school toilet ...
Our horror trip in What Happened starts in the school toilet, but the main menu that can be walked in already exudes a strange atmosphere. The main protagonist throws drugs down his throat, completely dazed we stumble out of the toilet and are welcomed "nicely" by a school colleague. Straight away we get a cuff and are then submerged almost to death in the water basin.
The visions take over, we disappear into our locker and the strange but also interesting journey can begin. Up to this point the controls are rather strange and vague, it is difficult to steer our protagonist through the individual sections. But this is by no means a mistake in the game or bad programming, but intentional in order to be able to experience the mood of our protagonist.
Warning, slight spoiler warning!
We can't reveal much about the story itself without spoiling the entire game. Therefore at this point an explicit spoiler warning for those who want to give this trip to themselves!
You can tell in the first few minutes of the game that it is not exactly easy for Stiles. A school hooligan makes the toilets unsafe, he is bullied and actually not noticed by anyone. The drugs then only intensify all these negative sensations that lead to madness. All of that doesn't seem to be enough because the drugs also gave Stiles a schizophrenia problem. His “bad” I can be said to always tempt him to see the bad in everything and everyone, not to trust anyone and, best of all, to torch the whole school.
The game takes up very serious themes that the protagonist experiences for oneself, so we are guided through the game by our own feelings. Of course we are angry that this rowdy beats us up again and again and embarrasses us. Then things happen again where we feel sorry for our classmates. This is what makes What Happened so special. These are the moments when we ask ourselves: How would I react? How would i act
A walking simulator or a horror shocker?
Answering this question is a little difficult. But one thing is very clear, what Happened will not win an innovation prize from a technical perspective. We run, explore, try out and solve small puzzles to move the story forward. As boring as it sounds, it's not at all. Because the really pretty backgrounds and details give you the feeling of being a teenager who is carrying a lot with you at the moment. But whoever expects a demanding point'n click adventure will be disappointed at What Happened.
Horror fans shouldn't jump in the air right now either, smaller jumpscares and a gloomy atmosphere are the cornerstones of What Happened, so every now and then there is a little bit of horror.
We would like to mention one more thing and also point out the risk of spoilers: We strongly recommend playing through What Happened several times. Firstly, there are different end sequences and secondly, the "Fuck You" fingers are added as a skill in the second playthrough, which gives us more options when making decisions. It is possible to save Stiles, but it is not that easy.
Then it only remains to say that What Happened is definitely not a game for in between or even for children, which is also shown by the USK, which has given the game an age rating of 18 years. What Happened wants to provoke and open their eyes to schools, teachers, parents and classmates. The insight to be gained: teenagers can have profound problems - under certain circumstances so massive that they can even lead to suicide.
Number of players: Solo
Age: from 18 years
Long-term motivation: medium
Publisher: Sourena Game Studio, Katnappe SP. zoo
Developer: Genius Slackers
Year of publication: 2020
Platforms: PC (Steam)
Language: German, English, Spanish, French, Japanese
Cost: 18,89 Euro
In conclusion, what should I say about What Happened? It wouldn't be fair to compare the game, so let's skip what happened. What Happened is not easy fare and those who have a hard time digesting the subject of suicide should steer clear of What Happened. But if you are open to a different kind of game by going deep into a person's psyche and exploring it, you should check out What Happened. The game shakes you up and makes you think about yourself, about others and about life in general.
What Happened was worth a trip for us and showed us how fleeting life is and how we should enjoy every day. Kudos to the developers who take up a topic with What Happened that is talked about far too seldom.
You can tell that very talented developers have put their hands on the game, even if everything is far from perfect, and certainly not highly polished. What Happened has its weaknesses, but also extremely strong phases. Mostly when the story comes to the fore and the unpleasant topic literally imposes itself on the player. This is often underlined by optical effects, which are graphically in need of improvement, but are atmospherically inspiring: Flickering light, stroboscopic stress visualization, environments that make you think - What happened uses many tools to draw players into the setting. This captivates, seldom wears out during the playing time and thus contributes to the overall experience.
In the end, you have to listen to your feelings in order to discover the added value in this game: What happened shocked, scared, depressed - and thus presents itself as the perfect walking simulator, in which the player is forced to find out what it is about . That is - despite the serious basic topics - fun.
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