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Save Koch

Posted by GG Goblin On October - 8 - 2019

Someone is trying to kill you. You have only seven days to find out who it is. There is no time to sit and watch your pet sharks.

 
Many popular movies and TV shows play on the hidden threat, where the hero knows they are being targetted but not by who and it then becomes a paranoia-fuelled guessing game until the culprit is finally revealed. This is the main premise for Wooden Monkeys’ Save Koch, which can be found on Steam, in which the lead character discovers someone wants them dead. The player will have seven days to put together the clues and stop this plot before, well, game over. I must admit I have rarely played a game this stressful and enjoyed the experience.

 


 
Jeffrey Koch is a mafia kingpin in New Kandinski and is all powerful. But someone obviously wants him removed and when he is suddenly ushered from the comfort of his home to a safe house, it becomes apparent that the game is afoot. Playing as Koch in the safe house, the player will have seven days to piece together all manner of information to try and not only find out who wants him dead, but also who the mole is in the organisation. The problem is that there is too much to do and not enough time to do it.

 
From a single room, players will have to put everything together to stay alive. It turns out that this is no easy feat as the player is given next to no information about how to assemble those clues, and time keeps ticking on. Each day only lasts about 20 minutes of game time, and as the days tick past, things get more and more frantic.

 
From that single room, players only have access to a few simple tools. At the beginning of the game, the player will get to choose their most trusted associates, and through the tablet on Koch’s desk, these associates can be ordered to deal with various situations. Each of the associates have their own special skills that will make them more ideal for one job or another. For example, a disgraced detective may be better suited to investigate crime scenes, while a thief could be used to steal something. The different associates are very interesting and well fleshed out, making interactions all the more fun.

 
The tablet displays a map of the city, and incidents of interest will pop up with alarming regularity. The player only has a few trusted associates, and so must pick and choose which events to investigate and who to send. In an ideal world, the best man for the job would be sent, but there will come times when sending a doctor to intimidate someone is the only option. Many of these activities will have a time limit on them, and as it takes time for associates to do whatever they are doing, there will inevitably be events that are missed, especially as the day comes to an end. However, success could lead to that all important clue.

 


 
Adding to the stress are the phone calls. A phone is on the desk and the player can use it to call any of Koch’s contacts, but more often people will try to call Koch. These phone calls could result in the vital clue, but missing a call does not guarantee that they will phone back. Obviously time and everything else is still moving while on the phone, so taking a call could mean missing something else.

 
The conversations take a multiple choice style, with the player being able to choose how they respond to the voices on the phone. These calls will give the player a chance to work out the personalities of the other players in the city, along with members of their own organisation, but spending too much time analysing a call will only take away time from other activities.

 
The final option from the room is to check out the clue board. On here, the players are treated to a tree listing all of the characters and any clues that have been found about them. The more clues, the more likely the mastermind and mole will become apparent, but the player will still have to do all of the mental work themselves. Everything is tied together in such a way that it can be really tricky yo follow, especially in the first few run throughs. However, once the player thinks they have the culprits, they can order a hit to take them out and survive. However, make the wrong choice and it could lead to an early end to the game.

 
While the gameplay is quite simple to understand, the complexity comes down to the player having to manage time and make really difficult choices, which the player will never know were right, aside from the obvious ending. Visually, the game looks really good and builds a great atmosphere. There is a cyberpunk feel to the game, and most of the characters are anthropomorphic animals with a gritty edge. This is not a game for kids, by the way.

 


 
I can’t emphasise how stressful this game is. There is no way to pause the game, which only heightens the tension, and the fear of making a wrong choice is palpable. It may only be a short game, especially if the player makes a wrong choice, but the replayability is huge. Not one for those of a delicate disposition, Save Koch is a game where players will have to work things out for themselves under very tense limitations. A great adventure for anyone who enjoys a challenge.

 

 ★★★★★★★★½☆ 



 

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