Introducing: Say No! More Switch Review
Say No! More is the latest in cutting edge NPG! That’s “no” playing game for the uninitiated! A few years ago now I remember reading the book, “Yes Man” (which was later developed into a film starring Jim Carrey). The premise of Say No! More is amost exactly the same and yet entirely opposite! Imagine a world where you literally are banned from refusing a request, especially in the workplace! Lets see how that works for our hero as we review Say No! More.
Wait, The Word No! is Banned?
The story behind Say No! More is a simple one. You are an intern starting work at a new company. It’s made clear early on you are being relied on to pay the rent this month (again) but your flatmate has at least made you lunch. You arrive for your first day with two other interns and begin orientation. Your supervisor takes a shine to your lunch and asks for it. Remember, you can’t say no! It’s illegal.
After this moment you uncover an ancient device, falling out of an air vent. A strange machination of plastic, metal and magnetic tape. For those of you lucky enough to be ignorant of these devices, I’m talking about a cassette recorder. Placing the headphones on and pressing play initiates the first of many tutorial segments. These take the style of popular infomercials / fitness videos of the time. A muscle bound Hulk Hogan-esque instructor leads you through using the forbidden word!
You are then set loose to chase down the supervisor and retrieve your lunch! Will our plucky intern make it through his probation period? Or at very least get to open his unicorn lunchbox! Between yourself and your prize is essentially the entire office workforce, making demands of you at each and every step of the way. Best get used to using that forbidden word!
Gameplay is very very simple. You press a button you say, “No”. Saying the word will cause enemies to be defeated as you move onto the next one. Think of playing an on-the-rails shooter without the guns. You do have some options in how to say no though! Whether that is in which language you use or whether it is using the direction / shoulder buttons to select from the different styles of no, (heated, cold, lazy and wacky). You also can charge your “attack” by holding the button down, which uses energy. You also can’t use your newfound powers if your headphones are missing.
Using all that energy can prevent you from delivering the perfect “No” and as such, you need to recharge. This can be done using each No’s own special move. This ranges from sarcastic slow claps to nodding along in agreement. As soon as you are fully charged, it’s off to launch more forbidden verbiage at your coworkers.
Most colleagues will simply move out of their way in comedic fashion. But there are some, very limited, side quests along the way if you time your responses. Dialogues will slowly time out at times but at no point does this change the outcome of the story, which will continue on the rails for the most part. “Boss battles” enable you to climb the corporate ladder and spread your own brand of corporate philosophy!
Just Say No!
The game tries a few times to hit a more serious note. Particularly about the corporate culture we have developed over time. There are plenty of times where the story calls back to jobs we’ve all had (or are maybe still in) where we simply take on more and more. Say No! More does a lot to try and push its political view, but also tries to show how we have ended up in this situation. But the message is quickly lost under the comedic facade that is placed around it.
The game is very short, and frankly plays more like an “office simulator” than a video game. You don’t feel that your choices have much impact, and in fact the game will continue if you don’t give a response at times. There’s only so far you can ride on humour alone. But the story is compelling enough that if an actual game was built around it, it would vastly improve its standing.
It also amazes me that the game has so many options for doing the same thing. It almost never matters which type of “No” you use to deal damage. There is no incentive for using one over the other and no real penalty for using the same one all the way through. The recharging mechanic gets boring at times as characters often repeat the same dialogue while they wait for you to clap your way to a full bar. There’s no strategy and frankly, there’s barely any gameplay.
How does it look?
Artistically, the game has a cartoony aesthetic that gives me vibes of trying to map smooth textures over minecraft wireframes. Animations fit within the same category, with very blocky movements that are only masked by the speed in which characters move. The surroundings are colourful and clearly a lot of time has been put into the visual aesthetics to give it a unique style. This is shown from the get go as you struggle to create a character that could be considered “normal” for an office space.
Musically, the game plays a lot of space age sounding 80s/90s that repeat at times and feel a bit musak like at times. It doesn’t get to the point of turning it off, but there were times I was grateful for playing in handheld mode late at night. What are these head…phones you speak of?
The game relies so much on it’s writing. Which does include a number of funny moments tied in with the exposition and plot twists. There is a lot here to make you want to complete the game, you just don’t feel like you’ve accomplished anything when you have completed it. There are times the jokes don’t hit their mark, but you certainly start to feel for and maybe even draw parallels to the workforce you interact with. But as soon as you do, someone flies through a wall as though their skeletons were pure adamantium coated vibranium.
Under the Hood
Technically, the game shouldn’t be taxing. Yet there were times the frame rate dropped while storming through the various levels in the office. I can only think the sheer volume of colour and number of assets being animated places a demand on the hardware, because it sure as heck isn’t the player interaction.
The game is relatively short, at around a couple of hours in length. Which felt like a blessing by the end of it. But this helps to keep the file size down so it isn’t going to tax anyone’s hard drive. The game plays fine in handheld and docked mode, with the slight drop in frame rate, and works with pro controller and Joy-Con alike.
Say No! More has a LOT of potential. But not enough substance to warrant me recommending it to anyone. The story is what carries the game to the point where it can actually be called a game. But the quirkiness of having a game focused around the word “No,” just isn’t enough to run with. This game needed some meat. Whether something as simple as creating some strategy and resistance to the protagonist as he flew through the levels, or something more detailed entirely. The current game is lacking.
There is some replay value in finding some easter eggs, or in choosing another language in which to hurl abuse at your co workers. But really this is a single player, single run through of a game that wanted to be “Untitled Goose Game,” but instead struggles to even compete.
- Interesting story that questions social norms
- Quirky set of characters
- Colourful and crazy aesthetic
- Barely qualifies as a game
- Short with little replay value
- Can complete the game almost entirely with one button