Imagine you and your brother are about to hunker down for the big game when, all of sudden, you’re given six hours to live. As it turns out, the main water supply has been laced with a deadly poison, the government are now scrambling to find a cure. As if things can’t get any worse, you quickly find yourselves immersed within an alternate plane of reality, teeming with vivid hallucinations.
It’s a unique premise and is just one of many things that separates One Way Trip from your conventional array of videogame releases. Although it can, in some ways, be likened to other visual novels, developer Beret attempts to approach every aspect in as offbeat a fashion as possible.
The end result is something that feels deliberately garish yet avant-garde at the same time. Everything, from its nonsensical narrative themes, to the jarring soundtrack and copious drug references, coalesces to form one of the most irritating yet intriguing games you’ll find on PlayStation 4.
Despite nudging the story along with occasional dialogue choices, One Way Trip will have you riding shotgun as you stumble from one bizarre scene to the next. Although there’s a clear goal in mind – to find a cure and survive the next six hours – you’ll quickly lose sight of this behind the reams of weird, often repetitive dialogue.
With new characters and settings constantly thrown into the mix, I found it incredibly hard to concentrate on what was happening. Then, after seeing the words “dope!”, “tight!”, “word!”, and “blaze” in various configurations for what felt like the thousandth time, I also found it hard to care. Conversations simply trail off and splinter before looping back around to push the story forward an inch at a time. It’s a slow, exhausting process and one that often left me feeling nauseous, unable to play One Way Trip for more than ten minutes in a sitting.
This is exacerbated by the game’s presentation. It’s made up of a mixture of inconsistent illustrations and a soundtrack that refuses to be classified by mainstream genres. Although a minority would label this as a work of art, to me it felt like a pincer attack on my senses. In simply trying to recall aspects of the game and convey my thoughts clearly, I feel agitated and restless.
While I struggle to play One Way Trip, I also feel a muffled yet ever present pangs of fascination. This is a rare specimen – an experimental approach to game design the likes of which we’re never likely to see again, at least not on consoles. Its incredibly niche appeal creates a barrier between Beret and a good 99% of those who own a Vita and PlayStation 4 (if not more). Then again, in some bizarre way, that seems completely intentional.
Version Tested: PlayStation 4