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Game Info:

Surreal Experience
Developed By: JIMMY DIAMOND
Published By: JIMMY DIAMOND
Released: February 24, 2022 (Early Access)
Available: Windows
Genre: Survival Horror
ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Number of Players: Single player
Price: $3.99

Thank You JIMMY DIAMOND for submitting this through our Steam Curator!

I’ve played my fair share of weird games, and this one probably takes the cake for me (that isn’t a blatant troll game). Surreal Experience really is something different.

A very strange brand of first-person survival horror, Surreal Experience has a pretty simple goal and premise. You’re a worker employed by Surreal Eradicators LLC. Your job, entrusted by your manager, is to evict the homeless people inside abandoned buildings and environments. Right now, there’s just an office to play in but in future updates, more settings should appear. The objectives, in order, are to clock in, kick out the ten homeless people, clock out, and leave the building.

But just like in real life, a job can’t be as simple as that. You’ll have certain obstacles in your way. You have your tall and skinny manager who is constantly evaluating your progress. He doesn’t start off as a nuisance, typically humming to himself that he’s the manager, and he's walking around. If you start slacking in the bum-booting process, he’ll reprimand you. Too many times and he’ll fire you. Not like he does anything himself.

Surreal Experience
Highlights:

Strong Points: Manages to be both funny and scary; setting is unique
Weak Points: Feels like streamer bait; difficulty can be unfair at moments
Moral Warnings: Suicide; drug usage; blood

The next guy who impedes your progress is the resident crackhead. He’s looking for—crack of course. He sports a massive smile on his face and dilated pupils. He’ll interrupt your work, asking for drugs and taking up your time. As time goes on, he’ll take up more and more of your time. He’s pretty difficult to avoid with his erratic movements. The other guy is actually cool. He’s just some random friendly dude who plays music for you. All of the NPCs are voiced and they all like to say silly and strange things.

Now the last and most threatening guy—is the crazy homeless man. Whereas all the other homeless don’t put up any form of resistance, he does. If he gets you in his hands, it’s game over. In the beginning, he’s a non-threat as he’s extremely slow and is yelling gibberish in an irate manner. The whole thing is funny because of how he doesn’t present a challenge to you in the slightest. But the more homeless you kick out, the more aggressive he becomes. He runs faster and becomes more attentive. Evolving into a stalker. A genuine predator. He’s hungry and you’re the prey. Soon, he’ll start to outrun you, and that once funny gibberish and incoherent nonsense become terrifying as you inch closer to your goal (with some lo-fi beats signaling his approach).

Fortunately, there are methods to help out. You have the space bar to have your character look 180-degrees behind. Items are scattered around such as crack and disguises. Crack can be handed over to the crackhead to get him to stop pestering you or you can also smoke it yourself to speed up movement, allowing you to outrun the homeless man even at his most dangerous. The disguise fools the crazy homeless man temporarily, making him go somewhere else. Hearing aids can also be found, letting you listen in on the other homeless people's locations. After ten seconds, the consumables are used up and disappear from your inventory. The office always has the same layout, but the people inside and the items are in different places for every playthrough.

Surreal Experience
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 76%
Gameplay - 14/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 85%
Violence - 7.5/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 5/10

If you have kenophobia and gatnobphobia, you’ll want to skip this game entirely as the office is all large empty spaces and long hallways. The massive open areas can play on the paranoia as you’ll never know who or what is around that corner. The dimly lit setting and the motivational posters that soon warp into photos of the homeless man play on the fear and absurdity of the situation. Every character is also weird-looking as they all look like cardboard cutouts.

Surreal Experience is easy to pick up and runs will go anywhere from one to five minutes. Although in many ways, the absurd surrealism, humor, and fast pace does make it feel like a “streamer bait” game. It’s not always a bad thing, but the whole feel of the game is like if you were streaming it to an audience, and there isn't a huge amount of depth. Surreal Experience is also a difficult time as the few dozen attempts I tried, I only beat the game once.

Now moral concerns are not as apparent as you’ll see at first glance. Being captured by the homeless man is a non-violent confrontation. It’ll just close upon his face and boot you to the main menu. You cannot inflict violence onto any character either. But there is an instance of suicide. If you deny the music man’s request, he’ll shoot himself (with an accompanying gunshot) once you leave the office room he’s in. If you walk back into the room, he’ll be dead on the floor with blood on his face. The other aspect is the usage of drugs, namely crack. The usage of crack also has no downside or side effects in its usage.

Surreal Experience truly is what it says on the tin. As of right now, it shows promise in the Early Access state. It can easily be picked up for a few minutes of fun and the insanity of the situation will entertain some. On the other hand, the dark humor and the streamer bait vibes will probably alienate others. If in the full release things like variables, more NPCs, gameplay sliders (such as increasing/decreasing the number of homeless, items, etc), and alternate game modes like playing as the homeless man are introduced, I can see this becoming something great.


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