Welcome to This Is Not A Review. In these articles we discuss general impressions, ideas and thoughts on any given game, but as the title implies, it’s not a review. Instead, it’s an exercise in offering a quick recommendation (or dismissal) after spending enough time to grasp the ideas and gameplay of a thing without necessarily playing it from A to Z.
The subject of this installment: Injection (pi) 23, developed and published by Factoria Cultural Gestio, S.L..
This is not a game — it’s a trap. I don’t know why a developer would craft an experience that seems intentionally designed to make people photosensitive, but I can’t see any alternate explanation.
Let me start out by saying that I am not photosensitive to any noticeable degree. I frequently play games with flickering lights and suffer no ill effects.
To its credit, Injection (pi) 23 opens with a photosensitivity warning — nice of them, but that’s immediately followed by encouragement to play the game in a dark room with headphones on. Luckily, I did not follow the first half of their advice.
For the first hour the game plays like a standard survival horror experience. Run around a decrepit town, gasp at the corpses, solve puzzles, avoid just a single genuinely-creepy enemy. Then the player is asked to use a crank to open a box inside a nursery, and all hell breaks loose.
The screeen begins strobing between a dark room and blinding flashes of white, and the soundtrack blares with grating noise as a doll flies around the room in a loop. In case players were hoping for a reprieve by muting the TV or taking their headphones off, it’s no good — the same horrific sound blasts from the PS4 controller’s rarely-used speaker as well.
As if this assault on the senses wasn’t bad enough, the game seemingly breaks down at the same time. I couldn’t find an exit to the room or anything to interact with. After two full minutes of stumbling around with no luck, I began to develop a headache, and had to turn the thing off.
Afterwards, I began to wonder if Injection (pi) 23 was even a game at all. Is there really anything after that nursery? The trophy list and a promotional video I watched suggest that a whole game’s worth of monsters and mysteries lies beyond that room, but I can’t imagine anyone lasting long enough in the nursery to see it.
If you’re photosensitive, stay the hell away from this game. If you’re not photosensitive, be warned in advance that Injection (pi) 23 will do its level best to make you that way.