Disclaimer: This review does not endorse the use of drugs. The author, Himanshu Talwar, and publication, Enthusiast Gaming, are not responsible for any actions inspired by this review.
Disclaimer: This review was conducted using a retail PS4. A code for the game was provided by publisher/developer for review purposes.
Drugs are everywhere in our everyday life. Maybe you stay away from them, maybe you don’t. Alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, coffee. Everybody is on something.
But rarely, despite the prevalence of different types of highs, have I come across proper representations of what any high feels and/or looks like.
One Way Trip reminds me of what it feels to be stoned out of my mind.
I only discovered this after playing most of the way through One Way Trip, but its style, mannerisms, the weird almost out-of-place music, everything fits the overall aesthetic of a stoner’s view of reality.
One Way Trip is a story of two brothers each fated to death by poisoned water. They have six hours to live, each of which is spent pondering everything from the trivial to the profound.
Every detail feels perfectly placed with the intention of lulling the user into a colorful universe filled with to the brim with the diverse, the weird, the unnerving comfort – all of which represent such immense familiarity.
Either that, or it fits together just right through sheer dumb luck.
Long drawn out ideas make up the plot and seem to drag on forever with unnecessary, forced tangents. It might not make the best gameplay or an award winning story but it’s respectable because it creates this feeling of elasticity that in and of itself alters your perception of time.
The offbeat, corn-filled raps blasting away in the background would catch any gamer off guard but it’s so agitating in its oddity that it’s worth experiencing because of this perfect agitation.
The beautifully unique aesthetic includes a mixture of pictures of hand colored – with what seems like crayons – backgrounds and characters composed of digitally altered pictures of actors stringed together to create stilted, limited motion. It’s awfully irregular but it works because One Way Trip is irregular.
But with all this being said, One Way Trip has problems. Tons of them. The story is completely nonsensical and impossible to follow. The tangential discussions circling existential, philosophical jargon deters from the already grueling pace. The music is, for all intents and purposes, reminiscent of the maniacal ramblings escaping the tortured carcass of a homeless man found on the coldest streets of Montreal. The art and aesthetic is barren and raw, and while it constitutes a fairly pleasing result, remains almost unfinished in its simplicity.
I can’t allow myself to say that One Way Trip does anything well. But in its failure, I want to say that I’ve seen a light. A brilliance that almost was. A capturing of psychosis and explanation of insanity that recants any shred of normalcy.
One Way Trip is the only game that I’ve played in a long time that has had me question the layers of thought present – or absent – from its writing. One Way Tripis the only game that has managed to master, and perhaps it’s by chance, the ability to hide meaning inside of that which is presented to the consumer.
It’s entirely possible, and maybe likely, that I feel this way because of my own desire to extract something of substance from One Way Trip. But because it isn’t completely out of the question for it to have been done on purpose, I can’t dismiss the idea that Beret has made something of consequence.
The Bottom Line
One Way Trip certainly isn’t for everyone. If you play a couple of AAA blockbusters a year, or if you’re new to the indie scene, or if you simply don’t enjoy the daunting task of reading, you’ll want to stay away from One Way Trip. However, if you’re familiar with the visual novel genre, or are an indie connoisseur yearning to experience something genuinely unique, I urge you to look past any problems you may have with its outward appearance and to at least give it a chance.