Sym on Steam — The Unsolvable Puzzle of Fear

By | May 12, 2015

Finally, a game to overcome my sociophobia! I’ve been waiting for this for 30 years.

Sym launched on Steam. It’s a platform game about fear. The launch trailer showcases the gameplay. Like an old black and white cartoon, our hero, Josh, travels from puzzle to puzzle, overcoming obstacles that represent different stages of social anxiety. Walls close in. Pitfalls are everywhere. Monsters lurk waiting to eat you. Yes, that’s real life.

Josh is a teenager and the game definitely mirrors the horrors of normal teenage-hood. There’s doubt and insecurities that must be overcome. Josh changes from a normal kid to an invertebrate, amoeba-like creature that slithers around corners and narrow pathways. He becomes someone else in the face of this fear. I remember that. I also see some of this now, except now, it’s called office politics.

The game’s art is surreal, like a dream or a person’s psychology. The focus is light and dark – shapes and contrast rather than details. Theme is those etches and ink doodling we used to do during class to avoid making eye contact with people. Right on target there. It also reminds me of those ink-blotch shrink exercises that shrinks do on their subjects.

What does this spot of ink look like to you?

What does Sym look like to me? An interesting puzzle game with a whole bunch of annoying little metaphorical and didactic subtext that really will annoy me more than help me become a confident, fearless power ranger….

Maybe there’s a game to help me overcome my negativity and pessimism?

Sym is out now on Steam.

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