Game: Land of Screens
Genre: Adventure, Point-and-click, Puzzle, Other
System: Nintendo Switch (also available for Steam (Windows))
Developers | Publishers: Way Down Deep | Serenity Forge
Age Rating: US E For Everyone | EU 3+
Price: US $5.99 | UK £5.39 | EU € 5,99
Release Date: February 4th, 2022
Review code use, with many thanks to Serenity Forge.
There is nothing like social media discourse over a breakup to turn someone’s world upside down. It’s enough to want to throw your phone down and swap online escape for a real-life one. Land of Screens is a point-and-click adventure that explores this concept.
Land of Screens introduces the player to Holland, a young woman who has just broken up with Brian. She worries how best to announce the news before Brian beats her to the punch, making a post that attracts opinions far and wide. Frustrated and anxious about the situation, Holland goes on a conference and a family reunion trip.
Along the way, she connects with friends old and new. People are lost in their various screens, oblivious until someone’s input disrupts them and brings them back to reality. Holland learns the importance of taking time to live offline and the grace of perspective from those who do matter.
The player spends the game flipping between cutscenes and point and click segments. The core of the gameplay centres around interacting with characters and objects to complete puzzles. While guiding Holland, players get to converse with characters several times, sometimes with options that will give insight into what object or type of interaction is required to move the story forward.
There are five primary levels, each focused on a different venue with various colorful characters to talk to. Some of the characters return in later levels. The player explores strangers, long-lost best friends, family, and musicians alike. The game lasts a couple of hours, which felt like a good length for this story.
Art and Music
The art in Land of Screens is simple yet effective. The lines are clean, the backgrounds nicely detailed, and the whole game is vibrant. I loved the animation of walking as Holland. It never felt like a chore to step back and forth here because my eyes got to take in the art as I went along. It wasn’t too busy or in your face.
The music was pleasant. I enjoyed the acoustics of the concert venue especially. The music is mainly soft and unobtrusive, suiting the scene without overpowering it.
Pros and Cons
Honestly, I have more praise than complaints about this game. The story was solid, character interactions engaging, and the aesthetics were well done. Holland was a fun main to play as – she was funny and more of a person than a character. I enjoyed how she was able to draw people out of their shells and away from their screens to re-engage in the moment. It’s a lesson to myself that lines up well with my recent experiences.
My only complaints are more nitpicks than anything. I wish the music had been a little less bland. It did a nice enough job, but it isn’t something I’d listen to outside of the game. I do also think the pacing was a little dragging here and there. A skip button would have been nice when going back through the dialogue I had already seen.
Land of Screens is a charming indie that extols the importance of getting off one’s phone to live in the real world sometimes. Thankfully, it’s not over the top or egregious about the topic, failing to demonize people who like social media. Instead, it allows for a more balanced message of taking it in doses and not forgetting that our problems that can seem so big online might be smaller than we think when we take some time away to reconnect to loved ones in real life.
I would definitely recommend this title, particularly to people who enjoy talking to characters, solving problems, and the genres listed on this game.
Final Verdict: Two Thumbs Up: