Games: For meta or worse, surreal point 'n' clicker There is No Game: Wrong Dimension is, in fact, a game
There is No Game: Wrong Dimension (Switch)
By: Draw Me a Pixel
OUR continental cousins sure have a flair for the surreal. René Magritte's 1929 Treachery of Images painting famously depicted a smoker's pipe underlined with the words "this is not a pipe". The Belgian canvas botherer wasn't wrong: it wasn't a pipe – it was a painting of a pipe.
This knack for deconstructing art has finally made it to the world of videogames with the indie darling There is No Game – now available on the Switch for some fourth wall-breaking shenanigans.
French developer Pascal Cammisotto's prototype first caught the world by storm in 2015, and his fully-fledged follow-up swept the boards at last year's Adventure Gamers Awards. Now, the meta epic lands on Nintendo's ridiculously popular handheld for a romp guaranteed to de-program how you think about gaming.
A send-up of modern genres, There is No Game is a shonky enterprise – and it knows it. Cammisotto, voicing our gruff narrator and master of ceremonies with an accent so thick it makes 'Allo 'Allo sound sensitive, implores players from the get-go that there is, indeed, no game here, forcing players into some heady outside-the-box thinking.
Requiring an almost childlike mindset, all conventions must be busted to even get the show rolling. If you need a cogwheel, for example, you could 'steal' the icon from the options menu, or to grab the attention of your Gallic guide, perhaps tinker with the volume settings.
It's hardly Sartre, but Wrong Dimension is quite unlike anything you've played before, forcing gamers to rethink well-worn game interactions and approach each task from brand new angles.
Once you reprogram your brain to the conceit, it's a case of exploring each screen with a blue cursor, finding and combining objects to overcome its meta-narrative – one which doffs its beret to every game genre, from Zelda-esque quests to LucasArts-style point 'n' click adventures.
One minute you're tinkering with the scenery in a Sherlock Holmes adventure, the next you're nabbing the in-game ads of an obnoxious free-to-play mobile game. There's even an entire level based around the game's credits.
For meta or worse, There is No Game has enough knowing asides to have the chin-stroking set proclaiming its six hours of wink-wink adventuring high art, and on this evidence, the French take to fourth wall-breaking humour with as much ease as they do surrender.
Don't let the title fool you – there is a game here, and it's a rather splendid one at that. And for a tenner, it's well worth a punt.