Review – Only If [PC]

Posted: July 31, 2014 in Indie, PC, Reviews
Tags: ,

Very few games make me feel annoyed to the point of explosion. Only If managed to affect me in such a manner in the 90 minutes it took me to complete the game, and I’m not even sure if that includes the several times I restarted the game due to an unknown bug.


It starts of seeming like one of those narrative games which starts with you having no clue where you are – although it’s shown beforehand you entering a house party and waking up in a bedroom strewn with party paraphernalia – hardly a case for Columbo. It feels very Gone Home until you open the first door and a wave of darkness rushes at you, forcing you to follow a glowing orb before the darkness reaches you again, now it feels very Amnesia. A mysterious voice taunts you on a radio and you have a bit of a banter session, with lots of strong language and heavy hints of death, now it feels like I’m watching Saw. Most of the mystery in this game to me was trying to figure out what Creability wanted this game to actually be, as opposed to the games’ attempts of trying to be abstract and convoluted.

Things appear where there was nothing before; newer things appear where the previously new thing was. You have a silent conversation with a clock in which you type short replies despite the fact you receive no prompt to. And this was the stuff which was designed that way. The only way I can imagine how Only If came into existence was that several levels were made for different types of game with nothing in common and some bright spark decided to stitch them all together like some sort of Frankenstein’s Monster and get some (albeit rather nicely done) voice acting to lazily justify what’s going on.


Now came the part which drove me to cake. One room offers you a choice between sacrificing a chess pawn (which offers a warped choice, it seems you choose the pawn to do the taking, not the pawn which will be sacrificed), to signify whether you want to sacrifice yourself to save a girl or sacrifice the girl to save yourself. Who is this girl? Why should I give a damn whether she lives or dies? Picking the wrong pawn sees you being stabbed, put into a wooden box and thrown into a river. You survive, you crawl out of the water and have a burning pumpkin field to slowly crawl through, make your way along what appears to be the only available route in the landscape and you get shot. Make your way through little gaps in the scenery and you can slowly crawl through the flames with no problem, but get too close to a giant pumpkin leaf and it’ll bounce you right back. Oh, you have to tap E on demand as well, I’m not sure what it’s meant to symbolise, you fighting the urge to go to sleep or some crap, I really didn’t care. As you crawl through this field you realise there is nothing to do except make your way back to the point where you’ll get shot.

Make the right pawn choice, and you can continue with the random mess that is Only If. However no matter which pawn I picked I ended back at the burning field and forced to restart. I started thinking maybe I confused myself with the button pressing so began writing them down. Sure enough I had tried both options several times with no success. In frustration I went for a cup of tea and some cake and consulted the internet for clues. A YouTube video of someone playing the game had him making the right choice with no problems. So I booted up the game again and finally, things worked. Nice of Creadibility to have a nice “Fuck you” moment in the game.


Here you magically get a gun and shoot pots to jump higher. There’s some sort of metaphor here, I’m sure of it…

Things don’t pick up much after that. Things certainly look nice but the sporadic gameplay and complete lack of motivation except wanting the game to end. Apart from the “twist” at the very end used to explain why this mystery man is attempting to punish you little else is offered as definition as to what you’ve just been subjected to. It comes across as a pathetic attempt of closure to make you sit back and think “Wow. That was deep. There must have been some reference to this conclusion throughout the game” but there isn’t. Instead it comes across as a slap across the face that something so stupid had to be scripted in to give some form of meaning to the prior events, and it doesn’t even do that. No explanation at all would’ve been better… Only if.

A] Short
B] Voice acting

A] Everything else

Final Score


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s