Life is often cruel, unkind, and unforgiving. There is plenty we don’t understand, yet people are still quick to judge. This is compounded further when you are young! You do know not of what the world is capable of, but you must behave and conform to society’s ideals. In short, it’s a minefield of guaranteed mistakes and learning curves. However, what we hope is that our errors are minor and our lessons are great. These ideas and more form the core concept of Sally Face. It is a bizarre title that’s filled with mystery, humour, and some heartbreaking twists.
Developed and published by Portable Moose, this is an adventure puzzle game. Its story is unnerving, creepy, and a little strange. It was originally released as a drip-fed episodic title, but console gamers receive the full shebang from the off. Fans of Broken Sword, Discworld or Monkey Island will adore the tongue-in-cheek writing and the problem-solving elements.
Sally Face is eerie and uncomfortable to play.
The use of taboo subjects is nothing new in the gaming world. In this instance, Sally Face touches upon mental health issues in a non-direct manner. The characters rarely appear “normal”, and the world is disjointed and obstructive. Consequently, the simplest of tasks are difficult to achieve and everyone appears to have an agenda. However, this isn’t a game like Hellblade or Limbo! Both of these titles use mental health in a more direct, yet abstract way. Sally Face, on the other hand, uses its ideas to set the scene while creating an unnerving atmosphere.
The story revolves around Sal Fisher, a boy/man who wears a prosthetic face. This unusual chap moves to the Addison Apartments with his father. On the day of their arrival, they are met by a grisly scene as their neighbour has been murdered. You’d think this would be bad enough. However, the building hides many secrets. Sal must team up with a group of outsiders to solve the many mysteries they encounter. There are supernatural elements, demonic beings, and a power that overshadows the whole community. Together, you must search for clues to thwart the darkness that’ll destroy the world.
The story comprises 5 chapters that span Sal Fisher’s unfortunate existence. Each portion of the story is equally gruesome and uncomfortably eerie. Furthermore, it always returns to Addison Apartments and its eclectic community. The majority of the story is told through flashbacks of Sal’s memories. Sadly, as an adult, Sally Face is awaiting trial for the crimes he has committed in his youth. Without ruining the plot, they are all horrifically intertwined and oddly supernatural. However, what they highlight is how strong and essential friendship can be.
The majority of the gameplay focuses on a point and click approach with many puzzling moments. Subsequently, the linear plot demands that you search for clues, find objects, and complete tasks. On top of this, there are mini-games to complete and some hidden Easter Eggs to discover. What’s more, the characters evolve and the relationships change depending on each unique situation.
Though each chapter is relatively short, the problems you face are challenging. You must combine memory recall with a logical thought process. Alongside this, you must scour each floor of the apartment building for any items you desire. The supernatural portion of the game is dealt with using a handheld gaming console. This strange tool emits a signal that allows you to interact with each apparition that haunts the building. I loved the simplicity of this mechanic as it reduced confusion and was key to progressing the story.
Sally Face is gruesome and striking.
Though the gameplay in Sally Face focuses on a simple 2D approach, it’s still gruesome and striking. The clean-cut character models and mountains of grotesque imagery will make you scowl and wince. Moreover, the brutality of each situation is captured in the fantastic cinematic. With depictions of gore and violence, this isn’t for the faint of heart. However, I loved its horrific ways. What’s more, I liked the basic chapter layout and how easy it was to navigate each area. With a lot of back and forth required, you needed not to lose your way. Fortunately, the developers got this right, otherwise it would have been frustrating.
Alongside the gory nature of the gameplay are distinct melancholy vibes. This was excellent, as it built a strange rapport with the protagonist and his friends. This was captured brilliantly in the sombre, yet emotive heavy metal music. No matter which chapter you experienced, the sad, minor toned songs can be heard. Yes, this leads to depressive undertones, but luckily, the amusing dialogue and puzzle elements keep you busy. What’s more, the excellent sound effects enhance the OTT supernatural elements without becoming tiresome.
Some moments of trial and error.
Sally Face demands that you search for clues and piece together random bits of information. However, what it doesn’t explain is the need to find hidden objects. Consequently, there is a fair bit of trial and error as you solve each puzzle. This was a bit of a surprise as I expected it to follow more traditional point and click mechanics. Thankfully, though, it works well and makes the action a little more challenging. Alongside this, there is a simple to use UI and responsive controls and this makes it easier to play.
Because of the array of mini-games and hidden surprises, there is some longevity and replay value. However, once you’ve discovered every secret, there is little reason to return. Luckily, you’ll enjoy around 10 hours of eerie and creepy gameplay. Subsequently, this is great value for money.
Sally Face is horrific but brilliant.
I always suspected that Sally Face was creepy, but I couldn’t have imagined how horrific it would be. Its gory images, strange story, and cruel twists are captivating. I loved its odd ways, weird characters, and difficult puzzles that are fascinating from the off. I adored it and I recommend you to buy it here! Will Sal’s crimes define his future or will the supernatural world be your saviour?