OK, so I’m a little late with this, since the game came out last year, and everyone else was raving about this then. But I got Her Story as part of the narrative Humble Bundle, and a couple of nights ago, I was like, “sure, why not? I’ll try it.”
Cue me staying up until 3am hunting down every last secret in the game.
The game is a bit of a weird one. In fact, it’s not really a game, exactly. It’s more… interactive storytelling. You’re accessing an old police database to try to put together what happened in a murder case from twenty years ago. The database is full of clips of interviews with the victim’s wife, but in order to access any of them, you need to search for keywords in the transcripts. Type in a key word, and it’ll pull up any clip where that word appears, with the caveat that you can only watch the first five clips that it finds. Your first suggested keyword is “murder,” but after that, you can type in anything you want. Which means that everyone is going to experience the game differently. You’ll jump from clip to clip based on weird word similarities, all completely out of order, and attempt to piece the narrative together from that.
There’s very little gameplay, beyond putting on your detective hat and figuring out what words to type in to find new information. Most of the game is spent watching video clips of the interview. But once you start, it’s very hard to stop.
I stumbled across the big, “Wait, what??” moment quite early on, maybe twenty minutes into the game, but it just made me more hungry for answers. And, honestly, one of the most clever thing about the game is that there are no answers. There’s the full story as told by the woman, which you can roughly piece together in your head through the clips. But it’s only the story as she wants to tell it. The truth lies unspoken somewhere inside it, and just as you have to wriggle out clues and bring all the pieces together to find the narrative, you also have to analyse the details and come to your own conclusions about what is really behind what’s being said.
It’s incredibly innovative, and incredibly compelling. It’s a little short for the full £4.99 price on Steam, so it might be one to grab during the next Steam sale, or if it appears in the Humble Bundle again. Both options are basically made for trying out short experimental games like this. But it’s definitely a unique way of presenting a story, and is worth a few dollars’ investment and the two or three hours of your time.