Whilst it has been released as a budget title, Divination looks absolutely stunning in certain frames. This futuristic cyberworld of chaos asks you to play the role of a fortune telling pair of robot hands. Your readings will change the lives of your customers and thus the world around you. It’s a great idea but the project is too small to really make its mark.
Lets start with the positives. The art is lovely and the soundtrack has some great synthwave grizzle. The premise is also cool as you interact with four customers who want a reading. The reading itself lets you place runes on a plate in a certain order and before you glyphs are formed. Again, this is a lovely touch which gives you a hint of the destiny you are choosing to dish out. The beauty of all this is that the customers are all key players or pawns in a giant man vs machine war and a crisis of nihilistic life. It also raises the question of how much sway does a fortune teller have. Are you changing fate because you’ve confirmed something or course correcting someone because they are rallying against you. Its a nice philosophical idea to chew on.
Sadly all of this is touched on in the briefest of brief games. Over in around 25 minutes depending on reading speed, the customers come, ask, proclaim and leave. You then see how their lives are changed on a TV screen and then in comes the next one. Yes, there is an overall plot but themes are not explored deeply and I found myself spending more time asking about fortune teller philosophy outside of the game than thinking about the game whilst in it. The story is fine but the illusion of choice is quickly shut down. There is only one real ending and Divination will rewind you back to one of your four decisions to ask you to pick a different one in order to get there. It soon becomes clear that you are asked to play a certain way and then you’ll arrange all your decisions to cause the desired ending to occur very quickly.
Its a shame as I’d have liked proper forked paths of characters following your destiny decisions for them. That would have made for a more interesting game, even if it was short. Sadly, this is a better idea than it is actual delivery and whilst it looks and sounds nice, everything else is just a skimmed surface deep trip. I think the reason why this becomes such a problem is that Divination attempts to tackle a lot of mental health and suicide issues but does so in a way that feels rushed and oversimplified and without the impact it could have left by dealing succinct blows. Each characters’ set up is really interesting and then things are seemingly tossed away after five minutes and very rarely revisited. Divination is not terrible. Its a nice half hour of heavy subject, light story telling. I just wished it was an expanded bigger project to deliver a much meatier and varied decision tree.
Review copy provided by publisher.
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