‘The Almost Gone’ Review: Puzzles And Trauma

The Almost Gone game start screen

I grabbed The Almost Gone while it was on sale in the Nintendo eShop. I have not played a puzzle game in a long time and was willing to get it a shot. The description of the game caught my attention as it deals with complexities of mental health. After all, what is the greatest puzzle besides the human brain? -Gets booed off stage-

The art style of this game is very pleasing to the eyes. The game is undoubtedly polished with no complications throughout the entire game. There are a lot of interesting scenes, but I think what shines here is the narrative. The one that stuck out to me the most are the Neighborhood Act and The Hospital Act.

Scene from Neighborhood act, a police car in a tree

Despite the cleanness of the art direction some of the interactable items that are meant to be found are very tiny. It does not really matter how many times you rotate the room around when you can’t notice a small block wedged in a corner. In some instances I had to look up a walkthrough just to realize I just didn’t notice it at all. There is a popular saying in the south, “if it were a snake it would have bit me”. Meaning, there it is dummy, right in front of your barely functioning eyeballs.

This game tackles a lot of generational trauma in a very short amount of time. The puzzles themselves having to deal with piecing together the short comings of parents, and their parents. There are several instances in the game where I related to the player character, Emily. Being unaware of the metaphorical and some times literal skeletons in the family closet for better or worse. The Almost Gone does a masterful job at expressing that everyone reacts to trauma in different ways, and sometimes they unintentionally continue the cycle. That the human experience is just as complicated as a puzzle.

Have you played this game? Let me know what you took away from the ending!