Watch This! (Video Game)


Watch This!Developed and Published by Civil Savages

Available on PC through Steam

Suitable for ages 15+

It says something about our society that we just assume the entertainment of the future is murder. I know films like The Running Man are supposed to fall under the category of satire, but in your heart of hearts you know that the apathetic blob people of the year 2170 are going to be so desensitized that only the most brutal of bloodsports will capture their attention. We can only go about 30 years without a war to keep us entertained, so might as well just cut out the song and dance and broadcast dismemberment straight to our TVs.

There is some debate over the format of this future dystopian deathsport. Will it be criminals fighting for their freedom like The Running Man? Or will it be a battle for fame and fortune like in Smash TV? Maybe some future version of “Survivor” will have a much more literal interpretation. If Watch This! is to be believed, it’s going to be like “MXC” mixed with “America’s Got Talent.” There’s probably a better comparison out there, but my exposure to shitty reality shows is limited to what my girlfriend watches while I’m too dead inside to move off the couch.

As the most recent competitor on the smash hit TV show “Watch This!,” you must traverse a deadly obstacle course for fame and prizes. Watch This! has sliding circular saws, spiked pneumatic pulverizers, directional jump boosters, acid water, and all sorts of other things you’d expect from a puzzle platformer. Populating the maze are a number of shortcuts, patrolling enemies, power-ups, and collectable coins. Coins can be used to garner favor from your family, whose approval you need to exit the maze. You’ll also need to please the general audiences, whose favor can only be curried by death defying stunts. Once everyone agrees that you’ve done significantly cool shit to live, you make your way to the end of the maze and win.

Watch This!

Bloody circular saws… spike pits… treadmills… yup, this sure is a murder maze

And that’s about it. There’s some variance here and there on what power-ups you get, but the actual maze itself never changes. There are only two mazes, both of which are pretty big. There isn’t a map, so most of your time will be spent memorizing paths and creating a mental layout of the course. The rooms are varied both aesthetically and danger-wise, providing an interesting and distinct mix to the challenges. One room you’ll be using your timing to dodge saws, and the next you’ll be trying to figure out the best path through multi-level platforms where the floor is acid goo.

Watch This!

The locations of the keys change, but a red key is always just going to be a red key, no matter how much its mother believes in it.

Sussing out the optimal paths and trap solutions is easily the most enjoyable part of the game. For the first couple of hours, I was thoroughly enjoying Watch This!. It’s unavoidably clunky and definitely shows its lack of budget, but for such a simple premise it comes together well. I was impressed with the variety, even if none of the rooms came close to matching even the mid-game puzzles of Portal. The process of just discovering what the game has to offer is loose, without any real hints beyond visual clues. If you like figuring shit out for yourself without a tutorial, you’ll enjoy these first few hours.

And then the game just gets old. You’ll learn pretty quick at least one path to the end, and from there you’ll get enough coins and favor to eventually make it out. It took me about five tries to beat the first maze, and about three for the second. The only thing left to do after that is to run around the unexplored rooms, but why? There’s no grander goal to accomplish. I appreciate level design as much as the next guy, but this isn’t The Louvre. I’m not going to tour the halls for my personal enrichment. Especially not when murloc ripoffs are screaming at me.

Watch This!

It’s great to see the rejected monsters from Videodrome finding work

The unfortunate truth about Watch This! is that the constrained objectives lead to only two possible outcomes. One, you get bored of the game because you already figured it out. Two, you can’t figure it out and get frustrated with the repetitive puzzles. It’s a game at odds with its own design. You restart the entire game every time you die, giving it the feel of a roguelike. But unlike a roguelike, the actual challenges never change. So what you’re left with is a game with a poor checkpoint system and repetitive puzzles.

Watch This!

Or, third option, you can accidentally warp outside of the map like I did and have to restart.

But hey, the reality is that all games get boring after a certain amount of time. A few hours might sound like a quick turn around, but the game only cost $4. So let’s recap with that in mind. It’s a decent premise with some pretty good challenges and a good amount to see, for $4. The visuals are clunky but distinct, with some spooky enemies to avoid for only $4. You’ll have some fun figuring out the layout and different puzzles, and only be $4 poorer for it. You might not remember it in a month, but then again you also won’t remember the Big Mac you ate for lunch, and Watch This! is 20% cheaper.

  • Game
User Rating 3.4 (10 votes)


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