[Game Review] Missing Translation

Missing Translation is an indie game developed by Spanish-based Alpixel Games for all ages. You play as either a man or a woman going through insomnia, and after deciding to take a late night walk, you find yourself transported into an alien world with strange creatures that seem to take an interest in you. Oh, and it’s also a world that has a lot of cats.

In order to get back, you’ll have to solve different puzzles to fix whatever machine that brought you there, and to be able to do that, you’ll have to explore, and on the way, you come across the inhabitants that don’t look like people, but seem friendly enough to interact with. But lo, and behold! They have their own language that you somehow are capable of learning and speaking.

insomnia.png

It makes me wonder now if it was just a dream world.

Controls + Gameplay

I played the Steam version and what I found was that it had very simple controls, your hands don’t have to move at all from the keyboard to be able to interact and move with other objects. The mouse is also needed, pointing and clicking is enough, but it is also needed to “speak”. There is no menu, no save/load system, which are fine although I was hoping there was at least a main menu which gives you the option to restart or continue your game.

puzzle

The instructions are very simple and easy. The concept is also very interesting, I found a lot of potential in the game. At the start, you have the option to choose whether you play a male or a female. I chose female first, and was stuck for a while. I even enjoyed doing the puzzles (that some other players complained about). I wondered if changing genders had any difference, but there isn’t any way (that I’ve seen) to restart the game other than probably re-installing the game. I go back to the school each time I play again.

For the people / gamers that aren’t interested in dialogue, this could probably be a good game for you to try. Absolutely no text, speech, or dialogue. Everything is focused on the black and white pixel art; there are clues placed on the buildings, and it really is constant questioning of what you should solve next, or what can you solve next?

Graphics

I really like the pixel art. It’s what drew me to try the game out. I like how it looks, and the variety of the characters in the game piques my interest.

I love that this game doesn’t have to be translated, so literally anyone around the world is able to play it, the instructions and the mechanics aren’t too difficult. Each level of the specific puzzles you have to solve is until 25 and it gets harder as you progress, but nothing as mind boggling as let’s say, Professor Layton and/or Phoenix Wright (because sometimes I really had to stop playing because I couldn’t figure the puzzle out).

Obviously, because it is a puzzle game, it’s also really smart; I didn’t think of speaking into the mic when I first entered this room. Since you’re limited to just the art/background, utilizing what you see really matters. The interaction part of the game is what really interested me; as someone generally interested in the different languages of the world, trying to figure out and decode the different strokes to be able to communicate is what I ended up focusing on after finishing the puzzles.

I really like the design and although it’s also an adventure game, I felt that there wasn’t much to see; at the end of the path, there lies an open gate that I can’t pass through, but I guess that’s really just the environment of that town, and maybe at some point I looked too much into the background. I found blueprints in one of the places and thought that was another puzzle to be solved. Who knows? Maybe it actually is. I’m still unsure if I’ve really gotten through each part of the game.

Sounds

I like the background music; there seems to be a lot of different music played on loop. I thought at first that when the music changed, it was probably because of a change in scenery; either that or something was going to happen, but I found that that really was just the background music. Music was still enjoyable and matched the game. Sound effects are just right as well; the absence of sound at some parts of the game is perfect and just reiterates the title of the game.




Replayability

I didn’t open the game for a couple of days and probably a week even, and after playing again, I realize I’ve completely forgotten the controls, and there wasn’t really any way of figuring it out or finding the instructions again that I remembered, so I tried checking other keys on my keyboard. It makes sense because this game really only uses symbols and art that gives you your cues, but still, whatever’s already at your disposal seems to be enough to keep playing again. When in doubt, use the mouse! Or go back to one of the puzzles for hints, hehe.

Conclusion

Puzzle game indeed, total time I’ve played this game is for about 4 hours just figuring out how to solve the other puzzles. I finished the game a little too quickly, but there was more than meets the eye. I resorted to a couple of reviews and other guides just to make sure I was on the right path, and a couple of others were just as confused as I was until I came across a certain guide (MEGA SPOILER WARNING!) on Steam.

doors

The two doors on the far right in the school really aren’t meant to be opened, as clarified by the developer here.

Those two doors lead to small puzzles which were designed by devs from other games(kind of a cameo). They aren’t finished yet, we thought they would be ready for release, but we’ll have to wait and update the game the game once they send me all the data.

Finishing the game’s puzzles guarantees a cutscene that shows you you’ve finished and leads you back to the title screen, but there are so many underlying puzzles that you have to go back and check. I still find it disappointing that there isn’t any option to restart the game and reading the devlogs kind of got my hyped, too, but what I was looking for wasn’t there or probably isn’t there yet.

Before checking the guide, I’ve been wandering and trying to figure out more of the language and other possible puzzles and I assume that a lot of players have not completely finished the game. Like I’ve mentioned earlier, maybe I’ve been looking too closely, but Steam tells me I’ve gotten all the achievements.

steam achievements.PNG

Rating: 6 / 10

The game’s iOS release is still to be announced, and since the game isn’t completely finished, there’s still more to look forward to.

Missing Translation was nominated for hoPlay’s Best Creative Design, and won Japan Weekend’s Best Game, hoPlay’s Best Original Idea (which I support very much!!), and 3rd place in Big Indie Pitch.

Download the game on GameJolt, Steam, or buy the game in the Google Play Store.

Read up on the development of this game here!




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