|| REVIEW || The Almost Gone (PC)

 Developed By : Happy Volcano                                          Published By : Playdigious
Category : Puzzle, Point & Click, Narrative, Indie
Release Date : June 25, 2020

For the most part, games exist just to entertain. How fast can you save the princess in the castle, are you the fastest racer? But occasionally, and more often in recent times, these games bring across a purpose other than entertainment. It's become a strong, effective, and popular medium for stories to be told in a more direct way. Especially since putting the controls in the players hands can help with an additional perspective on some of these stories, getting a small sense of being in the story instead of just viewing it. 
 The Almost Gone thrusts you right into the middle of a story that might be too familiar for some. You find yourself playing as a young girl, trapped between life and death as she is left to wander around the places and situations she's known for answers she may not be ready for. Her search, though, may end up revealing more than she previously knew as her digging uncovers truths further back in her family.

The story unfolds over five chapters, with each focused on a different area, and these are different areas both physically, as well as throughout her life/family. Each place allows you to navigate around, whether you're in your house, the neighborhood, or even an abandoned hospital. The entire area is broken down into individual spaces, which you can fully rotate around and use to open up pathways to navigate further. 
The clues and depth to the story are hidden in these individual spaces. Every one of these can be rotated completely around, and just about all of them have something to interact with. These interactable pieces will sometimes just give out key details of the narrative as it unfolds, while others will be things you can take or manipulate as puzzle pieces in order to get an even bigger piece of the puzzle, or open a new navigation path. 
 From start to finish, The Almost Gone is a pretty short game. My total playtime from start to finish was just under 3 1/2 hours, but that was also having left my game open for a short while when I had to tend to something else briefly. But, even though it's a fairly short game it packs a pretty heavy punch with some of the themes it touches on.
As a narrative, some areas of the game's story have the potential to hit close to home for some players. Progressing through, you'll uncover details of the characters life about being neglected by her parents. Evidence of her mother's substance abuse, and her father's over-dedication to work, all adding up to a lonely childhood for a young girl who spends her time looking at the stars. 

On the other side of the coin though, the dark narrative is woven between impressively intricate puzzles. I say impressive because in a game this small and quick, you would almost expect the puzzles to be just as short and quick. And while some pieces are, you'll quickly learn that the entire levels are massive puzzles which you'll be solving in phases.

Whether you want to look at each piece individually, or the game as a whole, The Almost Gone is an amazing experience for the short time you spend in it. In fact, it's probably the perfect length for a game like this. It doesn't waste any time with unnecessary flavor text, so each and every piece you encounter is crucial to the story being told. So play it for the story, or play it for the puzzles, but no matter what at the end of the day this is a game that is an absolute must play. If you're unsure, the games opening chapter is playable on Steam as a free demo, so check it out and be prepared to get pulled in.

Game Rating : 8.5 / 10

Pick up the game HERE on Steam
Also avialable on Nintendo Switch, Andoid and iOS

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