Thirty Flights of Loving Review

Congratulations! You're probably 1/10th through the game at this point.

  • Developer: Blendo Games
  • Publisher: Blendo Games
  • Release Date: 18 July 2012
  • Time played: 1 hour

I've heard about Thirty Flights of Loving before but never took the plunge as I was put off by the game's graphics. Yes, I'm not normally a graphics snob but when you've got twenty games to pick from, I admit that sometimes I choose a book by its cover. Anyway, along came a Steam sale and the game was selling for only a couple of bucks. Considering it's been well received by critics, with a whopping score of 88 according to Metacritic I thought hell why not give it a shot. Not to mention I was curious to see how a story-driven indie game based on the Quake 2 engine would work.

Plot (3/5)
A controversial score considering all the acclaim the game received for its plot?


But I can only be honest in my review here.

Considering how short the game is (15 minutes), I can't really give you an intro to the plot like I normally do without giving too much away. The plot is basically one of a surreal, artsy short film. So it's going to divide opinion from the get-go.

Some of you may get it. Good for you. Others will pretend to get it just so they can feel culturally superior. "Well, obviously you're not intelligent enough if you haven't figured this game out – go back and play COD with your 8-year old mates" they would probably say.

Suffice to say, I didn't get it and I suspect there are many others that won't. Yes I can get the general gist of what is going on in each scene yet I don't feel any emotional attachment to the characters which apparently I'm supposed to.

"Well, obviously you're not intelligent enough if you haven't figured this game out – go back and play COD with your 8-year old mates"

Gameplay (1/5)
I'm starting to see a trend in games over the past couple years towards these "non-games" – i.e. a linear game where you get little to no interaction besides exploring your surroundings. Dear Esther was probably my first experience in recent years and Thirty Flights of Loving is another one of these kind of games. Thirty Flights of Loving, however, manages to be even shorter than Dear Esther and it doesn't look as pretty – so it's already got a lot going against it.

The limited gameplay in Thirty Flights of Loving is slightly better than Dear Esther though – especially if you take into account the free game you get with it called Gravity Bone (which was released in 2008). However, you're still very limited to what you can do besides walking around, pressing a few buttons, grabbing a few things and that's about it. Gravity Bone at least had some jumping puzzles and mission objectives although the art critics would probably condemn the suggestion of adding the same to Thirty Flights of Loving as you couldn't call it a work of art anymore, hmmmm?

At least Gravity Bone is closer to an actual game. Still way too short though.

Sound (3/5)
Not much in the way of sound effects but the ones that are used are functional and serve the game's purpose. No voice acting in this game except for some low-fi audio samples you can hear when interacting with particular items.

Music (4/5)
Chris Remo does a good job with the soundtrack evoking a retro 60s feel which suits the setting perfectly.

Graphics (2/5)
The game isn't intended to win in the graphics department considering it uses crudely drawn cubes and prisms for characters, all built on the Quake 2 engine. They're fine for what they are – especially considering it's a one-man show, so it just boils down to whether you like the basic art direction or not.

Replay (2/5)
I ended up playing the game twice except with the developer commentary on for the second playthrough, to see if there was anything I missed in my interpretation of the game. Unfortunately, it was mostly just technical details, which was insightful but didn't help me figure out what actually happened in the plot. I also played Gravity Bone which brought my total playtime for two playthroughs of Thirty Flights of Loving and one playthrough of Gravity Bone to just one hour. Pretty short – I was expecting more.

Polish (5/5)
I didn't notice any serious bugs while playing which is refreshing to see nowadays.

Score – 5/10

If you like surreal, artsy short films – you'll probably love Thirty Flights of Loving. It challenges what we perceive to be a game but unfortunately I cannot consider this as one. I want a game to be something that is thought-provoking and fun to play – and if it can't be thought-provoking, a game that's simply fun would suffice. I didn't have much fun playing Thirty Flights of Loving and it was all over in a matter of minutes so I can't say I was too impressed.

If you want to get the game, you can get it on Steam.

If you like this game, you might like...