Going off the title and marketing image, you would be forgiven if you believe that Suicide guy, from Chubby Pixel, was a game about being unable to cope and looking for a way to end it. However, that’s only partially true as the game has nothing to do with depression or feelings – it’s a story of a simple man trying to wake up and save his beer. Are you interested yet? What if I was to say that in order to save your beer you must find fiendishly clever ways to kill yourself from dreams within you dream as that’s the only way to force your body to wake up. Deaths which are the outcome of solving 26 puzzles including well-known environments such as Portal and Super Mario’s world. Believe me, it about as crazy as it sounds but not without flaws. So, come with me as I try and explain just how good this game actually is!
Our protagonist is a nameless chubby guy who is sat on his couch watching TV when he begins to fall asleep! His mind is actively at work as he drifts into limbo with the sounds of whats on the TV and the radio, thus creating the realm which he appears within. The first pre-game dream we see our guy in is on the top of a tall building, deep within a bustling city. The object of each level is to basically kill yourself – you never see the death and everything is comedic and farfetched. You will have to solve a wide array of puzzles and platforming sections in order to complete this goal though as you are within your dreams, and most of your dreams have safety nets which makes dying a little hard. Without giving anything away, throughout your adventure you will wake up dragons, call on Satan, drown in the most unlikely of places and even perform a ‘groundhog day’ style execution.
Returning to our guy on the building, our first ‘puzzle’ isn’t hard – you simply jump off the building – using the diving board provided or not – and proceed quickly to the ground floor (if you get my drift). The screen goes black, the guy wakes up and everything seems okay – for a few seconds. You proceed to reach for a beer and turn to face the TV when you start to doze off once again, only now it’s disastrous as your hand loses its grip on your beer!
This time, however, you appear within a limbo of your dreams which is presented to you as an American diner which is complete with pictures of you as the ’employee of the month’ scrawled all around the walls. As you look up at one of the many hanging TVs around the diner, you see your beer falling out of your hand as your body (in real life) is losing its grip. Outside the door of the diner, you see your beer but you are unable to open the door or find anything which you can kill yourself with as all the doors and windows are locked and boarded up. What you must do now is an ‘inception’ style event and jump into 24 dreams within your dream and die within each of them in order to force your current dream to open the door and let you return home (via the help of the freeway outside).
As I said previously, what you are about to do is embark on a journey through 24 diverse levels, some are game-based, some film, some based on books, and some are generic. Technically, the game can be beaten quite quickly if you use a guide, I didn’t and it took me about 6-8 hours to complete all of the levels as some of there were pretty tricky.
The first thing I need to mention is also the first thing you will experience within the game – the controls. They are a little clunky at first until you get used to them. You have a button to Burp(?), Punch, pickup/throw, jump, use and your sticks to move. It’s hard to explain but it feels like an Early Access title on the PS4 – like there is a layer of polish maybe missing as it was ported over from the PC to the console. But don’t get me wrong – the game is perfectly playable, just don’t play the game for ten mins and give up or watch someone play it and think it’s bad – once you’re playing it you begin to get used to it. The climbing mechanic, in particular, is one I never really liked. You can press and hold jump as you approach a waist-high platform (or if you jump towards one) and your guy will grunt and pull himself up – sometimes. If you’re holding anything then he won’t and sometimes you have to be quite lucky with your jumps. Again though, this is a game about killing yourself so a missed jump doesn’t kill you, it just means you may have to try the jump a few times.
Another issue I had with the controls seems to be via a bug/glitch which appears to also be on the PC version from what I’ve heard – the incredible vanishing objects! Basically, if you walk on items in a strange way or maybe drop them a little too close to another object or wall texture, then the item may either warp through it or shoot off into outer space. These can sometimes be important quest-objects which don’t respawn, thus making the level unbeatable. Luckily, once you have figured out the solution to the level you are on, it only takes about 2-3 minutes on most of them to complete. So performing a quick restart is a minor hassle but still – if you didn’t see the object before it shot off then you could spend a while looking for something you’ll never find. I just want to point out though, this only happened to me twice – on a level where you have to wake a dragon my airhorn went through the floor and the level with the hadron collider, the device you use to create a black hole shot into space when I touched it with a hammer. On a restart, both instances never happened again though.
I think I need to bring up the level design next but I don’t want to give any spoilers in terms of the puzzles as I had a lot of fun seeing them and figuring them out for myself, so excuse me if I’m vague about things in this section. Personally, I really enjoyed the wide variety of levels within the game – I found it lots of fun trying to spot the references and working out what our guy is currently watching/listening too. Just a few of the imaginative ideas are:
One of the levels sees you in the Aperture Science Enrichment Center, where you will find a working Portal gun. Okay, it works but it’s clearly not as polished as Valves original. One thing I did notice within this level is – if you position both portals so you can see your character then you see legs, a belly and the floating gun – no head, neck or arms. I found this quite disturbing at first but then again – you’re in a dream so maybe the guy doesn’t own a mirror at home so doesn’t actually have his own image in his subconscious? Either that of the devs just don’t render a full model.
Another stand out level is themed around Super Mario – complete with ! blocks (known as !? blocks in this game), pipes and even venus plants – although I don’t think they have been water in a while. This level also contains a secret which I won’t say as it’s one of the trophies – but think back to Mario world 1:2 and I’m sure you will figure it out and find the secret. Another disturbing thing about this level was Luigi’s hat – I found it randomly on a platform – what happened to Luigi? Is he dead?
Other levels include Moby Dick (which I thought was Bioshock at first), a circus, a Barn, a Scrap Yard, a Blimp, a house with no water, a castle (which I think is assassins creed) and more. The only downside is that the mechanics don’t carry from level to level. For example, in one level you use a device to stop the computer AI spying on you – never used again, you use rocks to apply pressure to a switch – never used again, and you have access to a Gun/slingshot – I think it’s used in two levels and that’s it. It would have been nice if the game continually built upon the new mechanics you learnt and expanded them as you went along. The bonus mission you get does use about five or six different mechanics though and I really enjoyed that – maybe if the devs create a sequel then they can expand on things rather than having each world in its own bubble?
The puzzles themselves I feel are done really well. Like I said previously, go into the game with an open mind and try not to resort to looking for guides or walkthroughs (there are many as it’s been out on PC for a while) unless you get really stuck. I had to look up the solution for two things, one was my own fault as I walked past the item I had to pick up about five times and never saw it!. You do get a feeling of satisfaction once you work out what you have to do though, be it ending your life via electrocution, nuclear bomb, dragon breach, a car crusher, or even via rocket jumping. I can’t recall two of the solutions being the same – even the bonus round, which uses a lot of the previous mechanics, results in a different way to end your life and complete the level. So hats off to the developers for managing to come up with not only 26 different environments and puzzles, but also 25 different ways to die.
Regarding additional Gameplay – as I said, you have an initial mission on the roof followed by 24 missions within the Diner. Once you have done these you have access to one new bonus mission in the level-select screen (with more on the way supposedly). Within 24 of the missions, you have a statue to collect as an optional extra. These are almost always just there and easy to find, although some do require a little exploration to hunt down. There are also a few food items for you to eat, burgers, hotdogs and doughnuts – these don’t seem to do anything other than offer you PSN trophies.
Regarding PSN Trophies – for the Platinum hunters out there, Suicide Guy has an easy Platinum. If you play it without a guide or help then expect about 6-8 hours worth of gameplay as the trophies revolve around finding the statues, eating the food, completing the levels and finding the secret in the Mario stage. If you decided to use the guides then you could possibly get the gameplay down to about 2-3 hours, maybe less? I do highly recommend you play without such help though as it makes it a lot more fun and interesting.
Now onto the technical aspects. I played the game on a PS4 pro and other than a dip in framerate here and there (which wasn’t very noticeable) and the buggy parts I mentioned above, the game runs great. It’s very responsive and runs as you would expect. Graphically the game is very basic – by this I mean the textures are very smooth and solid in terms of colours. Everything has a kind of ‘cartoon’ feel about it – I imagine this is to add to the charm of the game as well as to show it’s a comical game and not a dark, depressing game about actual suicide. There isn’t anything really taxing on the hardware yet everything is instantly recognisable and clear. I feel this art style is perfect for what kind of game it is and shows the game doesn’t take itself seriously – also don’t forget you are playing within the guy’s dreams.
Audio-wise I have mixed feelings. It appears a lot of the dreams you dive into are generated based on what your protagonist is hearing. This is visually represented by a radio which appears within the dream at the start and throughout each level. The music it plays is a short loop of something related to the level – so the Mario stage has a bootleg Mario theme and the Indiana Jones has bootleg Indy music. after a while a few of these themes can get a bit annoying – thankfully you can just turn the radio off – problem solved! If the stage has a few radios then you will hear the music again as you gradually get closer to another radio – the same thing, turn it off. Honestly though, I thought the music added to the experience as each of the levels had it’s own music (even if it was a short loop) and I found it quite funny on levels like the dragon one where the music is epic and building right up and you can just stop it and it all goes silent other than some ambient sounds.
Your guy doesn’t talk – he grunts. as you go around the level, running will make you breathe heavily, climbing will make you grunt, you can burp and if you hold R2 you can zoom in and make a sound (although this has no purpose other than to imagine your guy is moving his head forward). So the sound design in that aspect is a bit light but the sounds are okay – it does make you wonder why the guy dreams of himself as an overweight middleaged man though rather than anything he could be!
Suicide Guy may not be for everyone, it controls a little clunky and it feels like a just-finished Early Access PC game; however, if you take the time to get used to the controls then you are in for a treat. The game has 26 imaginative and clever puzzles which you really should play and figure out for yourself instead of using a guide if you want to get the full enjoyment out of the title. Platinum Hunters and people who couldn’t care less are both welcomed and catered for with the addition of the easy platinum and the fun gameplay. One thing I would say is, don’t go into this game expecting a AAA type experience – it’s from a small indie studio who makes games to be fun, not technically state-of-the-art.
Even though the game is comical and not technically about Suicide, as you are trying to escape your dreams by dying within them – If you are suffering from any form of depression or if you just need someone to talk too then please call the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit their website at https://www.samaritans.org/ – They are open 24 hours a day and the number is free – they will talk with you about anything, not just suicidal issues.Share this article!
- Decent level designs with a variety of puzzles and solutions
- Some surprisingly fun levels and even amusing deaths
- The music is initally pretty good - helping build the mood and feeling of the level you are in
- Easy Platinum
- The game feels a bit 'unfinished' in the polish department
- Controls can be a bit clunky
- There are a few commands that do nothing - burp and zoom in - Would have been nice if these were used for specific things at some point.