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February 05, 2014

Serena Full Review


...Wow...

Reviewed By: Kyle van Rensburg

Verdict: (C) Caution Advised (For Some Sexual References and a Very Unsettling Nature).

Release Date: January 2014

Developer/Publisher: Senscape

Platforms: PC

Genre: Point and Click Mystery



Areas of Concern:

Violence:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive

--(Warning: Spoilers. Mouse over the white space to "End Spoilers" to see the description...)We see the greying, decomposing corpse of a person with their mouth open in terror. Some blood is shown on the nearby environment.(End Spoilers)

Context of Violence: Shock Value.

Sex/Nudity:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive

--A couple of sexual references: A man mentions that he and his wife "made love" on a couch and all over the house, her not being prudish about sex and their intimate life being "out of this world".

Context of Sex/Nudity: References Only.

Language:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive

Infrequent Uses of F**k, S**t and some milder profanities.

Context of Language: Grittiness.

Spiritual Content: 

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive

--There are some vaguely supernatural paintings on a wall. A mythical poem hangs on a wall and is referred to several times.

-We see a Bible and a man mentions that he doesn't believe in God, calling him a "fairy tale" in a moment of anger.

Context of Spiritual Content: References Only.

Drugs/Alcohol/Smoking:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive

No references that I can recall.

Context of Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco Usage: None.

Scary Stuff:

--The game as a whole manages to unsettle with it's simple, yet disquieting story. You know the feeling you get when you're alone in a sullen house? This game captures that feeling perfectly.

Morality:

Abysmal Bad So-so Okay Good Very Good

The game features some frank talk about conflicts and relationships. As such, it's hard to place the morality in any category. Let's just say that the Morality is Okay.

Morality Type: Humans being Humans

Review of Game:


I did not see this one coming. An Indie game released on the 30th of January on Steam. For free. With almost no promotion. And it only takes place in one location.
Normally the above would be the death kneel to any game, but in this case, it bucks the trend by far.

Serena, as I said, takes place in a single house. A cabin, to be exact. The game does a good job of immersing you in the setting, giving you the feeling that you are there. The gameplay is simple enough; click on an object, hear a sentimental narration, click on it again, hear more sentimental narration, etc. 

Everything is all nauseatingly sweet, until you start clicking on the items more than once. Suddenly, the tone shifts subtly at first but noticeably becomes different. The change continues, until the twist.

Let's just say that the atmosphere really makes it disquieting. And from then on, the game permanently burns itself in your memory. This game still sticks out in my mind. And to me, that shows some serious artistic quality.

Quality Verdict: Good (B)

So then, with all this praise, why a B? Well, simple; the game is only good for the first playthrough. You may revisit it to confirm the way you felt about it, but it isn't a massively replayable game. But not like that matters. It's just a score, after all. And you won't regret playing this game.

Unless you want to sleep at night.

Conclusion:


Now, while some may take offense to the sexual references, they are minor enough not to offend. I don't know if this makes a difference, but it's all implied to be between a married couple.

And there's also the whole very creepy nature. As said before, you will feel uneasy. And it's not unintentional.

With that all in consideration, this game is free. So while a small majority of you may be hesitant, there's really no harm to your wallet at all.

The Preacher: So, we're taking offense to implications of married couples "doing it"? Takes me back to the good old days.

Trent: Gross, David! Sexuality is a private affair, and not meant to be discussed in public. I mean, in our seminar on it recently-

The Preacher: You were discussing it in public?

Trent: ...I give up.

Verdict: 16+



For Some Sexual References and a Very Unsettling Nature

Outro:

So there you have it! This review surprised me greatly. And now that it's out of the way, what are you waiting for? Get playing!

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