You Have to Burn the Rope  - Brian
Director: Mazapan At a Glance:
On the surface, this is a seemingly easy and oversimplified romp. Unfortunately, it will no doubt be remembered as such, but one must truly do some digging to find the true meaning. What appears to be a simple, straight-forward platformer metamorphoses into a beautiful and brilliant narrative brimming with scathing and unmitigated social commentary.
PC (Indie Game)
Links: You Have to Burn the Rope
Based on the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, you play as a stylish circle with arms and legs and a hat. Evoking the existential horrors of the novel, you are cast into a deep dark tunnel with only one way out. Clearly fate has made the choice for you and like it or not, you have been selected as an instrument of justice.
The gameplay is simple and to the point. You only have one way to go and that's forward. You are given weapons, but it soon becomes clear that these will have little to no effect on your adversary. Truly the player will have to improvise in order to win, but with no clues, the discovery of the resolution is left to chance. One of many important life lessons cleverly hidden in the game.
Simplistic sprite work is a clear throwback to the surreal nature of the novel. This only serves to enhance the already haunting and brilliant ambiance of the game.
Physically, there is only one enemy, the Grinning Colossus. In actuality, there are two: the other enemy is yourself. The Grinning Colossus is the color of black, representing emptiness and the void of constant hunger. He reflects you, the hero, and your yearning to satisfy primal urges in a society claiming to be civil. The player's character is the color of red symbolizing strife. No doubt a reference to the internal struggle within all of us; the struggle for civility. It is, indeed, a powerful metaphor for what kinds of beasts can be made manifest through repression. In the end, is not the real monster ourselves?
The fun is in the discovery. I spent days trying to beat this Grinning Colossus before finally realizing the trick. In a way, the game reflects life's struggle. We often spend so much time and energy trying to accomplish something that we fail to see the answers directly in front of us. Truly an enriching experience. I'm probably going to go play it again after I finish this review.
The credits. I'm not being cute, the credits were the defining moment. A catchy tune plays congratulating you, but the lyrics are not what they seem. The sarcastic lyrics seem to initially downplay the severity of your endeavor. If you read between the lines, one can glean a real life lesson out of these whimsical prose. The lesson is that desire is the monster...a monster that will always be there. This game, much like a classic Disney movie, illustrates life's struggles while appealing to children. I highly recommend this game for anyone with an insatiable appetite for knowledge and enlightenment.
Quotes: "You have to burn the rope."