So, Is That A Yes?
HIGH Noooo!!! No no NO no nooooooooo!
LOW Would have really liked more substories, they were lovely.
WTF It ends too quickly… I wanted to say no! more.
In our dystopian present of megacorporations, terrible office dynamics and distasteful workplace politics, saying “no” is an essential way of protecting ourselves (and our precious free time) from bosses and obnoxious colleagues. Luckily, Studio Fizbin has come to our aid with a special title that reminds us of this precious tool.
Say No! More features both a quirky art style and mostly-automated gameplay that aims to be more entertaining than challenging. it’s definitely a noble objective that is only reached by not forcing the player to go through hurdles in learning the mechanics and also by keeping the overall gameplay from becoming stale.
At the start, the player chooses a character and, most importantly, a voice in which to say “no” in — there’s a variety including French, Italian and Russian. It’s a simple choice that manages to add a whole lot of personality to the proceedings since the main character has no dialogue at all — or more precisely, has only “no” dialogue.
The story goes that we are starting a new office job in a megacorporation and are gifted a special lunchbox by a friend as a first-day good luck gift. Unfortunately, said lunchbox will end up being desired and consequently stolen by our despotic bosses. When said injustice takes place, our character – with the aid of a self-help “NO!” tape – will bring peace and justice back to the workplace by teaching our colleagues how to respond appropriately to inane requests.
The core of the gameplay sees the character moving automatically while trying to repel people wanting to obstruct the path of justice by. This repulsion is achieved, of course, by saying “NO!”. As the story progresses, our self-help tape will teach us how to better perform as a naysayer by adding other techniques like laughing at the requests, fake-nodding in approval, saying a dead-cold “no”, or by using a strong, all-powerful shouty NO!
It’s all very silly and played for laughs, but the message behind it remains strong. The story also doesn’t shy away from more emotionally charged moments, like facing the consequences of saying “no” to a friend and how to cope with hurting other people’s feelings.
The substories (easily missed if one is saying “NO!” too much) are lovely and feature small details that add a lot of charm to the office. The writers are perfectly aware that it isn’t always possible to say no, even to requests that might sound inappropriate, perhaps because the person asking is family or a friend. In the end, it’s all about being able to understand and value the people and relationships that connect us all.
The blocky PS One-era art style seems tailor-made for inherent quirkiness via simple polygons, colorful textures and a whole array of weird character designs. The voice acting is pretty strong across the board, with the “no” trainer being a particularly crazy stand-out, and the soundtrack features engaging beats to accompany our relentless restoration of office fairness.
While Say No! More might not be everyone’s cup of tea as it’s an experiential title that centers entirely on its story and characters, I had a great time in the two hours it took to finish it, and can’t wait to play with another character and a different language in which to say “NO” in. It’s a heartfelt game that will gift a smile to many players’ faces, while also delivering a strong message essential to our daily lives. Say yes to Say No! more.
Disclosures: This game is developed by Studio Fizbin and published by Thunderful Publishing. It is currently available on PC and Nintendo Switch. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on PC. Approximately 3 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode and the game was completed. There are no multiplayer modes.
Parents: The game is rated E10+ by the ESRB for mild violence and mild language. While there are some instances of characters thrown out of windows, there is very little that I would consider mature content but, given the subject matter, I would definitely recommend this to a Teen audience, even though I’m sure everyone would have a blast saying “No”.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: All spoken dialogue is subtitled and audio cues are not required to fully enjoy the gameplay. Text cannot be altered or resized. In my view, the game is fully accessible.
Remappable Controls: The game is controlled via the keyboard and mouse, with left click used to say “no” and other keys to change tone and “flavor”. It is not possible to remap the controls.
Years later, he got the idea that he was the most Sega-knowledgeable person in the world, so he opened a website in 1997, The Genesis Temple.
He's a sucker for great stories in gaming, he loves adventure and indie titles, but he never shies away from action and triple-A RPGs.
Damiano's been writing about videogames for 20 years, with no plans to stop. Say hi to him on Twitter at @damgentemp, or on his blog https://genesistemple.com (now dedicated to the history of video game design).