I’ve always been a firm believer in giving indie titles a chance. With how much of the market focuses on triple A games that never end, the smaller one that exist barely get the spotlight. So when I received a key for Blyts’s Nobodies, a title I only heard about from a press email, I was immediately curious. Not just because of its gruesome premise of cleaning up after murders, but also because I don’t hear much from the Argentenian gaming scene. It’s definitely ignorance on my part, so it’s time to fix that by dealing with conspiracies, terrorism, and messy crime scenes.
After human experimentation from the US Government was uncovered, scientists who worked on these experiments were dismissed. These scientists were then hired by fundamentalist group Q-100 to help them with biological terrorism. Thus, it’s up to the government to take out these scientists (alongside members of Q-100) to prevent an attack on US soil. But you’re not playing the assassin who takes them out. Instead, you are the bloke who has to clean up after the fact: Asset 1080.
While not groundbreaking storytelling, it does give you a context to the puzzles. It’s one of those games where the puzzle matters more than the narrative and that feels fresh with the greater focus on narrative driven adventures in the industry. I’m instantly reminded of those adventure games that were everywhere on Newgrounds, and that’s not an insult. It’s more focused on its self-contained episodes, even with the overlying story about biological warfare and the machinations of Q-100. Its inspirations feel more akin to games by Scriptwelder or The Super Flash Brothers than their ancestors.
Nobodies is also surprisingly funny. Asset 1080’s musings show a weird mundanity to his profession. You might be desecrating corpses for your government, but it’s a living. Contrasting the mundane with the morbid has always been a trope I like, and Nobodies revels in it. This is also shown with the multiple ways you can fail. Whether it’s by disposing a body messily, murdering someone when you’re clearly not meant to cause casualties, or just flaunting a corpse through a hotel, there’s an air of absurdity to Nobodies that helps the game have that bit of levity with its dark subject matter.
But that bit of comedy comes with a flaw. Since 1080 is a bit of a wisecracker, his personality makes him too noticeable as a cleaner. There are moments where you can talk to people and make somewhat of an impression. Hell, you can even play matchmaker at one point. While I liked 1080’s snarkiness, it didn’t gel well with the focus on leaving no trace. When missions get more and more complex, it feels dissonant. I don’t mind it too much as something that comes with these types of puzzles. However, it can get a bit unbelievable if you can’t suspend your disbelief.
Nobodies is a game with a straightforward puzzle in every level: hide a body and dispose of all evidence. This is done through a simple point-and-click interface, so it’s nothing out of the ordinary. But what it might lack in UI flair, it makes up for in puzzles. It’s easy to get caught dragging a body, so you have to not only ditch a corpse, but do it discreetly. However, punishment is rather lax. If you get caught, you are simply set to a time before you messed up. Some mistakes can only be fixed by restarting the mission, but these mistakes will only prevent a perfect score rather than a failed mission.
These puzzles don’t end the moment the corpse is gone. You also need to make sure everything you took is back where it belongs. It’s a nice touch, reminding you to tidy up after you succeed, but can turn somewhat tedious. If you forget where you put an item, you’ll be compelled to pull the “use item on everything” strategy. Luckily, there is a highlight feature to prevent pixel hunting and a pager to give hints on your mission.
There’s grotesque fun in these puzzles, always clear in their objective but not in their solution. It comes with some a-ha moments, half with a sense of achievement and half with a creeping realization of what you have to do. It’s not impossible to figure out, but you will need to stop and think. If you’re someone who feels like the puzzles of recent adventure games were too simple, Nobodies scratches that visceral itch.
Performance & Graphics
Minimum System Requirements:
OS: Windows 7
Processor: 1.7 GHz Dual Core
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260, ATI Radeon 4870 HD, or equivalent card with at least 512 MB VRAM
Storage: 500 MB available space
If you’re a sucker for competently drawn 2D art, Blyts has you covered. It’s functional and well drawn, but it doesn’t leave much of an impact. What left a larger impact was its weird lag at startup. Even after it’s done loading, the game lags somewhat before you dive in. it’s a minor complaint, nothing that breaks the game, but it slows down the experience and is rather common. There is also a noticeable bug in level 8 that can prevent you from completing the level and requires multiple restarts. Both of these will probably be patched and runs smoothly apart from those two notorious examples. It also helps that it doesn’t require a flashy system, so don’t worry about running it if you don’t have the best rig out there.
Nobodies is one of those little games that won’t blow your mind, but is an enjoyable romp nevertheless. There’s some neat puzzles thanks to its twist on adventure game logic alongside some devious black comedy. If you can forgive some tedious puzzles at times and some glitching, this is worth your time. Just don’t be surprised if you get stumped.
TOP GAME MOMENT
The moment you realize you’re gonna stuff a dude with embalming fluid and make him an exhibit in his own museum.
Fun twist on adventure game puzzles
Weirdly likable protagonist
One rather frustrating bug on level 8.
Some tedious puzzles
About Gavin Herman
Gavin Herman is a critic with experience in editing, journalism and video game PR. He's still too afraid to ask what this Fortnite thing is all about.