[Review] One Person Story – Nintendo Switch

Written by Thomas Haroldsen
  • Developer: Lampogolvii
  • Publisher: Drageus Games
  • Release date: 08/11/2019
  • Price: $2.99 / £2.69
  • Review code provided by Drageus Games

The Power of One

One Person Story is all about minimalism. From the short levels and simple artistic design to the gameplay (you only ever use one button), everything feels small. But there’s a big impact. You see, this puzzle/action game isn’t just one person’s story as the title suggests. It’s everyone’s story. Or, at least, it’s trying to be.

Life Hurts

If you’re looking for a sprawling narrative, this isn’t the game for you. Despite being broken into chapters like “Life Hurts” and “Darkness,” there isn’t really much of a story. The story here is more of a metaphor, or a life lesson. You’re a floating orb navigating your way through corridors, which are often filled with obstacles like locked doors, spikes, and buzz-saws. The metaphor? The orb is you. The obstacles are anything from breaking up in a relationship to struggling through depression. And if you don’t have a keen ear for metaphors, don’t worry. Our trusty narrator often spells it out for you. Is it heavy handed? Yes, sometimes. A few of the narrator’s pep talks feel like something you’d read on a kitschy bumper sticker. Since you’re supposed to take it so seriously, some of these mantras come off more pretentious than profound. Mostly, though, it works.

Keeping It Simple

The gameplay of One Person Story is simple: you navigate through corridors in order to advance in levels. Each level is fairly short, and there’s typically only one or two puzzles to solve along the way. But it’s not just the story or level design that’s minimalistic–you only use one button the entire time! Whether you’re using magnets to pull your orb toward a wall or opening a door at just the right moment, all you have to do is press the “A” button. I was a bit skeptical of this at first, but it’s totally effective. The game is full of ambiance–whether it’s the fantastic music or the relaxing color schemes–so it’s nice that you aren’t bogged down by mashing lots of different buttons. Instead, you can focus on the journey, which is probably the point.

Finding Beauty in the Small Stuff

If there’s one thing One Person Story succeeds at, it’s finding beauty in the small stuff. You may just be an orb floating past obstacles, but it looks great. The melancholic color scheme used in the level design works wonderfully. Even when I got frustrated on certain levels (looking at you, Level 52!), the color palette and soundtrack were relaxing enough that I didn’t feel tense. And that’s a great thing to find–especially in a puzzle game where frustration can lead to rage quits. The game’s atmosphere encourages relaxation and reflection.

Short and Sweet

Overall, I enjoyed my time with One Person Story. Remember how I’ve used words like “simple” and “minimalistic” to describe it? Well, the same applies to the game’s length. It’s an admittedly quick game that adheres to the “short but sweet” mentality. I beat the entire thing in about two hours, and I wasn’t trying to rush. And while I think it might be a perfect game for a rainy afternoon, I think it would have benefited from being a bit longer. Because of its shortness, the replay value is relatively high. It’s a game I’ll probably replay while waiting at a doctor’s office or at the airport–something quick that I can beat in a single sitting. Because while the game is a bit heavy-handed at times, it’s still fun.

Pros

  • Great music
  • Engaging design
  • Fun puzzles

Cons

  • A little pretentious at times
  • Extremely short playtime

Verdict
One Person Story is a fun and ambient action/puzzle game, although it falls a little short of its lofty ambitions as a metaphor for life.
3.5/5

Leave a Reply