Release Date: 02/06/2016
Played On: PC
Available On: PC
Time Played: 4hrs 48m
Progress: 100% Complete + Multiple Replays
Developer: Fluik Entertainment Inc
Publisher: Fluik Entertainment Inc
With Steam Greenlight slowly dying at the side of the road, it might be worth having a think about some of its relative success stories. I say relative, because there's a bit of a well-earned stigma around Greenlit games, which are arguably considered to be of lower quality than the dreaded Early Access title. On the flip side, we now have a bunch of weird little games that probably would never have seen the light of day without the Greenlight entry point.
It's no surprise then that Projector Face is a quirky point and click with a number of problems and a whole lot of promise. It sums up my expectations of a "good" Greenlight title, because it's little more than a really nice proof of concept.
There are obvious limitations throughout, as the animations are basic and the entire game can be beaten in about thirty minutes. The gameplay is your basic point and click that has you moving from screen to screen to explore locations and progress the story. Puzzles are easily solved with a bit of moon logic here and there, but at times the locations can be a bit confusing as to how they connect to one another. This is probably just a symptom of having basic art, which is nice, but clearly has been made on a budget.
Despite these limitations, which can largely be put down to limited development resources, Projector Face does show promise in its surreal story telling. For me, I would have liked the writing to lean into the bizarre a little more and really have some fun with the whole machine-tried-to-make-friends theme. Again, the story is hindered by limitations and is over quickly without ever digging deep into the possible narratives.
However, as I mentioned at the start, this is a Greenlight game from an independent developer, which I think needs to be considered. Circumstances don't excuse a game from being a rip-off or a buggy mess that isn't fit for purpose, but if I pay money for a game and get something complete that works, I'm pretty satisfied. I can forgive Projector Face for not blowing me away, as I enjoyed my time with it as an interesting example of the kind of story that could be told.
On the other side of the fence, I commend independent developers for making a tiny little game that works. I'm sure we have all encountered a big budget game that's completely broken before, so it's clear that size isn't everything.
It's a shame that Greenlight is dying off, even though it opened the gates for Steam to be flooded with garbage. Ultimately I don't care if Steam is the digital equivalent of a two dollar shop, because it still offers the opportunity for these tiny little games to have a home. Games like Projector Face will always be interesting to me, but I like finding small unique creations when I can.
I hope that in the future, there will be a way for small developers to increase their scope and have the ability to create something deeper; more fleshed out. If Projector Face was an epic journey of discovery with voice acting and polished animations, I would be singing its praises as a genuinely intriguing adventure.
Right now though, I have to say that Projector Face is a nice little concept of ideas and themes. Perhaps that's the downfall of a system like Greenlight: it gave these tiny games a place, but they'll never be anything more than they are right now.
Much like the dreaded Early Access game that burns out before it's ever released; but that's a rant for another time…