Do you lack the confidence to say no to people? Are you always the proverbial mat that people walk over? Well, this game may very well be for you!
Many thanks to End of Level Boss for gifting me this key!
NO PAIN, NO GAIN
Say No! More is a rather strange game to talk about, mainly because it’s more like an interactive self-help guide than an actual videogame. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever played anything like it before in my life, which makes talking about it pretty damn tough – but I shall certainly try!
The game puts you in the shoes of a new intern at the ‘Say Yes! More’ company. Before starting, however, you will need to create an avatar using an extremely limited character creator; there are a lot of options available, but pretty much every combination results in a character who looks like a complete lunatic.
Once you have your mad lad ready, you can start your first day at work, complete with your own packed lunch! Awesome! Unfortunately, it is forbidden to say no at the company and your supervisor wants your lunch, which you begrudgingly hand over. The day is off to a bad start, but you soon stumble across a self-help tape that provides guidance on how to turn people down. With a Walkman and headphones at the ready, our heroic intern decides to stand up for themselves an start saying NO! to anyone who dares to impose things upon them. Thus begins our tale.
Set across eight chapters (plus a short prologue and epilogue), the game has you trying to get your lunchbox back through a series of increasingly strange scenarios. You don’t have any control of your movement, so the game has you moving on-rails much like Virtua Cop, or The House of the Dead; however, instead of stopping to aim your gun at the foes impeding your progress, you have to blast foes away using your all-powerful NO! You have a variety of different noes at your disposal, as well as some body language that can be used to disarm your opponent. There’s a charge meter available too for a stronger NO, and you can use your body language to help put off your adversary while it recharges.
NO-ING ME, NO-ING YOU
I’ve probably made it sound a bit more involved than it actually is. Truth be told, none of the noes actually make any difference whatsoever. Occasionally you will require a charged one, but there’s no way to fail: enemies will simply just not do anything until you hit them with a powered up burst of negativity. It has the foundations of something that could have had real meaning, with enemies and conversations hinting at how best to deal with them, but all these additional systems are pointless and only serve to give the fantastic motivational coach something more to do. The gameplay would be completely mindless if it wasn’t for the occasional NPC who doesn’t deserve a NO to the face. Usually these situations are accompanied with pink text boxes, but not always. Sometimes if you don’t respond and allow them to talk, it will result in a side story unfolding. Don’t be fooled into thinking they all require silence, there are times when you need to say NO at an appropriate time to offer encouragement or to address doubts that they have. I found myself paying attention to every conversation to try and get the best possible outcome -as well as to stop myself from getting bored with the repetitive nature of the core gameplay.
With that being said, the game is still a joy to ‘play’. The graphics remind me of Die Hard Arcade, and the voice acting is absolutely wonderful to boot. It’s the main story and its plethora of side stories though that are what make this game so special though: they ooze charm, and many of the story arcs are an absolute delight. From joining people in love, to becoming the champion of a bizarre cult, the world is full of magnificent madness. It’s such a shame that it’s all over so fast – a full playthrough only takes about an hour and a half, and there is very little in the way of replayability.
On our Intern’s journey through their capitalist nightmare, they will learn various tactics from a self-help guru to help them just say NO!
What better way to refuse an ice cream during a cold winter than with an Icy NO! Freeze their soul to the bone with this chilling rebuff.
Some people aren’t worth wasting a full energy NO; instead, you can turn them down with a more relaxed NAA!
What better way to disarm your opponent than a sarcastic slow clap to lower their sense of self worth?
There are many more tools at your disposal, but all of it is just for show. Mix them up, and it may help to stave off the inevitable feeling of repetition!
Say No! More is extremely compelling with its boxy Dreamcast-era visuals and it’s entertainingly insane storyline, but those looking for any kind of gameplay depth will end up being extremely disappointed. Whilst they could have tweaked the game to include an element of light strategy, the game is still a satisfying – if short – romp that will leave you grinning from ear-to-ear all the way through.