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Vasilis review for PS Vita, PS4, Xbox One, Switch


Platform: PS Vita
Also on: PS4, PC, Switch, Xbox One
Publisher: Sometimes You
Developer: Marginal Act
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: M

One of the best Simpsons jokes of all time is from the episode where Itchy and Scratchy leave Krusty the Klown’s show, and in their stead he airs Worker and Parasite, “Eastern Europe’s favourite cat and mouse team.” It’s completely incomprehensible, and when the camera cuts back to Krusty, he lets out a “What the hell was that?!” (Video here, in case you want to watch it again.)

I felt that way the entire time I was playing Vasilis. There’s some kind of story here about an old woman, the eponymous Vasilis, trying to find her husband during the darkest days of the 2014 Ukranian revolution, but I’ll be honest: I barely understood what was going on most of the time. Playing as Vasilis, you wander around a surreal, war-torn dystopia, where it’s not uncommon to see people laying dead on the ground, and everything is constantly flashing in black and white. You occasionally interact with people and signs, which theoretically give you leads towards where your husband might be, but it’s all incredibly confusing.

But that, I guess, might be the point? If Vasilis’ goal is to accurately represent what it’s like living in a war zone as an old lady, mission accomplished.

I can’t say I enjoyed it all that much, though. Nor, as I said — and this is undoubtedly related — could I understand it for the most part. Whether we’re talking about the dialogue or the tutorials, it seems pretty clear that something significant was lost in translation when this went from its original language (I’m assuming Ukranian, though it may have been Russian) into English. For the most part, I walked around clicking on things and people, and hoping one of them would trigger whatever was supposed to come next.

Again, that may well be the point. What’s more, I think/suspect/hope that Vasilis is supposed to be an artsy game, which means that a large amount of its strangeness entirely intended. But even by the standards of artsy games, Vasilis is especially strange, so unless you’re fully on board with a WTF reaction, this may not be the game for you.

Sometimes You provided us with a Vasilis PS Vita code for review purposes.

Grade: B