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If Found... review – moving coming-of-age tale framed by rugged Irish coast | Games


An emotional and richly detailed reflection on growing up in mid-90s Ireland, If Found … tells the story of young Kasio’s difficult return home from university through the pages of her journal. Delicate illustrations depict a world slipping away from her: sometimes they’re animated with a stop-motion quality, flickering on the page; sometimes they’re filled with impressionistic colour, a window into Kasio’s psyche.

But rather than helping to write these pages, we are asked to erase them, using a finger or mouse to rub the screen to assist Kasio in processing this painful period of her life. From fraught exchanges with her mother to packed venues pulsating to rock music, events are scrubbed from the diary using this simple, tactile interaction. Where most video games ask players to contribute to on-screen mayhem, If Found … is about subtraction and its minimalist tools produce affecting results.

As the story is relayed through Kasio’s matter-of-fact writing, it becomes clear that she’s adrift, not just from her family and friends but the wider community. Even during its lightest moments, such as Kasio’s exchanges with her squatter pals in a punk band, loss is a constant presence – perhaps inevitably for a game about expunging the past. Letting go is a process tinged with melancholy, but it can also be cathartic, something that the game demonstrates poignantly when the erasure is inverted towards the end and the diary begins to fill with new thoughts and events.

Despite its heavy themes, the game exudes fondness for the region it depicts. Wind whips across sandy beaches, chippies host late-night chats between friends, and Kasio gazes at stars through a broken roof while a house party rages below. Gaelic and local slang pepper the dialogue, alongside a helpful glossary. The sense of place, strength of writing, evocative art and elegant interactions make If Found … a moving drama, beautifully capturing the growing pains of early adulthood.

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