Hands down probably the weirdest game I’ve played in a long time.
Browsing through the Steam store has become an unwelcome hobby of mine, as I often find it hard to play some games longer than a few hours before succumbing to boredom. As much as I love playing games with my friends, there are times where I need a break to recharge my social battery. I decided to take a punt on Dinner with an Owl for this exact reason. I’d just had a few games of League of Legends (I know I’m dumb, stop it) and wanted something to wind down to, but I was pleasantly surprised with this game.
If you were to picture Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” and squint at it through a kaleidoscope of Broken Sword, then you’d probably get a handle on the style of this game. It’s fairly unique, and the character designs are simple and appealing, though the design of the Owl himself is definitely worth championing - he looks extremely out of place in the world around him, yet you know he belongs there at the same time. It’s quite a jarring feeling.
The music of this game helps set a creepy atmosphere from the get-go. There’s lots of dark synths and strings, which really do compliment the oppressive vibes that the Owl emanates. He even gets a musical number which is quite nice.
The voice acting is great. The characters have just the right amount of charm, and the Owl himself just oozes malice in every syllable.
Not sure where to begin with captioning this fever dream.
While the writing is very good, if you’re looking for character development, you won’t find it here. You can tell that the characters outside of the Owl are deliberately made redundant, and even your own character is only given a name. While this is a stylistic choice and one that should be applauded from a literary standpoint, it can be hard to grow attached to the characters.
I finished the game in 21 minutes, and there’s a fair chance a player could finish it in less time than myself, and the length could be considered a downside. Thankfully this game has no price tag attached to it, so there’s no monetary loss being made here. I just wish I had a longer game with a narrative like this, where there’s more mysteries to uncover about your avian adversary.
If you like dark stories that don’t overstay their welcome, this game is for you. Dinner with an Owl is a surrealist venture into the modern Gothic genre with creepy charm. You can tell BoringSuburbanDad enjoyed every minute of this game’s creation. I hope this isn’t the last narrative they produce, because I’d definitely love to see more games of this nature pop up. It’s definitely worth a look, especially when there’s no upfront cost to it.
You can pick up this game free on Steam here.
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