THE MISSING: JJ MACFIELD AND THE ISLAND OF MEMORIES
Lost, but certainly not forgotten…
Creator of Deadly Premonition Hidetaka ‘Swery’ Suehiro is back with an offbeat side-scroller unlike anything we’ve played in ages, despite borrowing from a range of sources: The Missing has the unsettling atmosphere, death traps, and body horror of Limbo, the dismemberment mechanics of Neverdead, and a dash of cult platform-puzzler Umihara Kawase in the precise stiffness of its controls.
The less you know about the story, the better. Suffice to say that the setup – student JJ searches for her BFF on a storm-lashed island – is merely a springboard for a tale that goes to some seriously dark places. JJ is mangled and burned by the traps littering the levels, yet you’re encouraged to put her in harm’s way. Set her alight, and she can burn away obstructions; zap her with 10,000 volts and the charge she retains can power machines. And when she’s reduced to just a head, she’s able to negotiate narrow tunnels (don’t worry, she can regenerate her limbs). Meanwhile, collectable doughnuts unlock text messages1 on JJ’s phone – well, obviously – offering insight into her relationships with her mother and fellow students.
Puzzles are clever, if occasionally finicky2 and for a long time you’ll wonder where it’s going. But when it finally shows its hand, The Missing becomes a heartfelt tale about identity, and the contortions we go through as we work out who we really are. Grab the Krispy Kremes and settle in with one of 2018’s most distinctive, memorable adventures.
FOOTNOTES1 The profane emoticons – Swery by name, sweary by nature – are majestic and we need them. 2 The lack of handholding is A Good Thing, but one or two tasks are a tad obtuse.