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 Post subject: Gaijin Challenge 1: Kiss or Kill (XB1, PC)
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:00 am 


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Joined: 19 Dec 2009
Posts: 587
Location: Chicago, IL
http://kissorkillgame.com/
(Trailer and info is on the site)

It's really hard to even attempt to describe this game, but I feel like more people should be aware of it.

The story behind this is that the game was originally in development by a Japanese indie game dev for Dreamcast back in the late 90s, but the project was halted when Sega killed off the DC. Years later, the creator passed away with the game unfinished. The creator's son decided a few years ago he wanted to finish what his father started with the help of a few other people to bring the game to life, and with some other modern twists and ideas.

It officially calls itself a "Punk Narrative shoot-em-up," which is actually a very accurate description of the game, and I'll try to articulate why.

First of all, it's a twin-stick shooter, which I'm usually not too fond of, but this game just blew me away with how absolutely bizarre and cerebral it is. The idea behind the game is that there's 2 modes you can switch between at any time, one being "kiss" where you have a weaker shot that basically just turns enemies into hearts, and the "kill" mode where you have a much stronger shot, but you kill them and it has very strange repercussions.

As you do well with either mode, you start accumulating "karma" which basically keeps your base shot leveled up, even if you die, and it also has very different aesthetics depending on which mode you're using. With kiss mode, it plays a very happy, upbeat song in the background and as you get good combos and do very well, it flashes absurd soft-H anime images on the screen. In contrast, the kill mode plays very hard and dirty techno music, and when you do well, it flashes horrible images of the bombing and aftermath of the atomic bomb being dropped on Hiroshima. This is absolutely surreal and strange, but it ties into the overall narrative of the game.

Not only do these weird images appear, but the game is also constantly breaking the 4th wall and taunting the player, and there's often a video of a character that represents the game developer in the top corner of the screen, who cheers and points at you when you fail, and gets frustrated when you do well. This also causes some very strange behaviors to start happening as you play, including some things similar to games like Eternal Darkness, where distractions and annoyances start appearing on your screen while you're trying to play, and the video image starts getting distorted and warped as well. The game also often shows fake error messages and also makes you think the game just crashed just to psych you out.

The overall narrative is that you're in a battle with the game developer to do well, but also that when you use kill mode, you're becoming a killer yourself, and it bombards you with all this horrible imagery and taunts, calling you a murderer, and makes references to the idea that video games make people violent, but is kinda mocking that sentiment, in a way.

The game is filled with jarring and somewhat scary footage and imagery in the full motion video segments as well, bordering on horror in some ways. The overall narrative plays out a little bit like SuperHot as well, making you question what it is to create or play games in general and what effect they have on the world.

The game also takes you through a little bit of shooting game history, calling back to old games like Space Invaders and other 80s shooters, as well as 16bit era and GameBoy as well, in interesting and strange ways.

I don't want to spoil too much more, but this is available on Xbox One and PC right now and is only $10. I feel like this needs to be seen to be believed, though I also wouldn't go into this expecting some kind of super challenging or traditional twin-stick shooter, as the game is more focused on the narrative part than the traditional shooting part, but if you go in with an open mind and enjoy meta-type game narratives, this is a real gem.

I'm curious to know what some other people may think about this, but I haven't seen many people talking about it so far.
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