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Game Info:

We should talk.
Developed By: Insatiable Cycle LLC
Published By: Whitethorn Digital
Released: July 16, 2020
Available On: Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Visual Novel
ESRB Rating: Mature (Sexual Content, Strong Language, Use of Alcohol)
Number of Players: Singleplayer
Price: $6.99

I would like to thank Whitethorn Digital for the review key for this game.

In the information era of our contemporary day, how we communicate can make or break us both personally and professionally. "We should talk." is a game that attempts to explore the importance of choosing words wisely, using a modern take on the visual novel approach to explore how speech can make or break someone.

Your unnamed female protagonist starts at a bar, where they are about to order a drink and discuss with the bartender their relationship with their current girlfriend and can later chat up a few other people. In the process, they also get texted by said girlfriend, and how they conduct themselves at the bar and respond to the texting can lead to several endings for the relationships of one or more parties involved.

It's worth noting the developers align openly with the "inclusivity" crowd. The game characters reflect this, using words like "folx" (instead of folks) intentionally, among other bits of slang commonly found on the more leftist parts of social media (such as "snacc"). The developers have confirmed in Steam discussions with fans of the product that this is completely intentional.

We should talk.
Highlights:

Strong Points: Decent concept
Weak Points: Bizarre choice of internet lingo for actual dialogue; very short
Moral Warnings: Frequent crude language and profanity (including usage of f***); crude sexual flirtation and enticements to extramarital sex; encouragement of homosexual/bisexual relations; disrespect of parental figures; racial stereotyping and prejudices; gameplay requires making various unethical and immoral decisions

Graphically, this is not overly impressive for a Unity Engine title. The character models look like PS2-era characters at best, and animation is very stiff and limited. The colors and set pieces are restricted to varying dark and neon backgrounds and the bar area (where most of the game takes place) is very simplistic in design with a sparse background. The ending scenes also feature the same low-polygonal characters and sparsely detailed backgrounds in still image format, and the game's UI appearance is just as sparse and bland as the actual game itself, though admittedly it is easy to read.

Sound is acceptable, with some appropriate Muzak fit for background noise at a bar and the few sound effects (there is no audio dialogue) are pleasant on the ear. That is basically it, and given this is a game about communication, I was surprised they didn't spring for voice-acting at any point.

Controls are slightly annoying, with no mouse usage at any time during play, even in the pause menu. While you can choose different strings of dialogue in your sentences with the up and down keys before pressing enter to continue conversations, input seems a bit stiff at times. The game has controller support, but it's not much more intuitive than with the keyboard alone.

Stability is where I found something odd. This is not a demanding game by any means, but on a gaming laptop capable of nigh maxing out Doom Eternal, it turned into a fireball on the "Very High" setting. Turning it down to Medium or even Very Low changed little save making some edge aliasing on textures a bit more obvious, though my laptop was merely somewhat warm instead of a raging inferno. The actual game does run to completion competently regardless of this issue, nor did it crash or hang at any point.

The playtime is very short. This can be completed in around 15 minutes if you speed run (20-30 minutes otherwise), and while changing up your sentence structure with different options has some replay value, all the endings could be possibly attained in a few hours. The characters themselves fall into some broad stereotypes, and it's not hard at all to determine what words and phrases will anger or please them. The writing felt a bit unnatural with all the internet slang and informal expressions one would not expect to find outside of sites like Tumblr or Twitter. Your story choices, while appearing vast, really only boil down to a few outcomes, the dialogue options only vary how you reach these predetermined endings.

We should talk.
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 52%
Gameplay - 9/20
Graphics - 4/10
Sound - 6/10
Stability - 3/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 53%
Violence - 10/10
Language - 2.5/10
Sexual Content - 3/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 1/10

Morally, this game has a lot of issues. Thankfully, violence is absent from this title, so on that front, it rates quite well.

Language tends to be a bit crude at best, with some quite strong dialogue involving some very harsh profanity (like f***), assuming you pick the cruder options. There is a fair amount of sexually charged and crass dialogue as well, including crude attempts at soliciting your character into sex, which you can reciprocate in kind, politely refuse, or several options in-between. Some racially charged topics are brought up, with the obvious potentially offensive connotations that would imply.

Sexual content is quite antithetical to Christian morality. While this is not a pornographic game, there are frank discussions of sexual relationships and you do play as a bisexual currently in a lesbian relationship. Your main character can either horribly screw up their current lesbian relationship and cheat with either a black or Asian guy, or keep the relationship together, which is considered the "good" ending. The option to remain faithful part is the only redeeming thing about the good ending, but whom you are faithful to morally negates it since this requires remaining in a homosexual relationship.

This is a game set in a grounded, real-world setting, so there is no occult or supernatural influences. You have the option to say some very horrible things and choose to be quite cruel if you like, and to get certain endings, such actions are required to attain them. Even better endings still require the rejection of traditional values despite not being as bad as the other options.

Overall, given the short length and odd design choices, paying the asking price is not recommended, and given the lack of technical polish in the presentation, this plays more like a game I'd offer for free instead demanding any amount of money for. Morally, this has nothing to recommend it from a Christian moral standpoint, but the message that proper choice of your words to avoid certain outcomes of poor conversation decisions is one fairly sensible takeaway anyone can find useful. I wouldn't recommend this as a paid product to anyone regardless, but it does have an admittedly decent concept, just one too short to enjoy for multiple reasons.

About the Author

Daniel Cullen

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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