Moral choices aren’t a new thing to gaming as a concept, but to what extent do we actually think these decisions through? As little or big as the consequences are, there is only one question that remains about it as a whole: will you do what it takes to survive? This is This War of Mine: The Little Ones.This War of Mine’s story isn’t exactly what you’d call a traditional storytelling mechanic, since a lot of the gaps are often filled in by the player’s own imagination, but the tonal setting and occasional character dialogues do make sure they serve their purpose: they make you aware of the situation.The game is set in a post-apocalyptic setting where players search abandoned parts of the city in order to gather resources for their homestead, which houses a group of survivors that work together in order to ensure their survival. But the dynamic doesn’t stop here, as survival isn’t simply a case of gathering resources, but the question of wether every single one of your survivors is worth saving, which is quite a moral dilemma in retrospect.
This is where This War of Mine’s narrative effectively challenges the player on a psychological level. At what point does taking care of someone become a liability? It’s not only an excellent story of moral exploration, but a subtle look upon the effects of war on human begins.This War of Mine’s astethic at the first glance is pretty familiar. Its grim color schemes and dark levels could be compared to games akin to Limbo. The game is set mostly in 2D interiors, which despite their flat design have a great sense of dimensionality thanks to texture and lighting design, which create a great atmosphere that effectively enhances the storytelling dynamics of the game with its grim view upon the game world.The Little Ones doesn’t necessarily do anything amazing or out of the ordinairy, but its execution and qualities make the visual presentation both effective and visually appealing, which is something that’s often taken for granted with titles such as this.Returning players from PC will obviously be familiar with the mechanics, but its basis isn’t that incredibly intimidating for new players either. You’re given the responsibility of maintaining a homestead with its group of survivor. Every day you’ll work on your safehouse as you use your supplies to improve and maintain the place, whilst at night your survivors will be taking the task upon them to gather supplies in the ruins of the city around them.
Gather food, building supplies, weapons and such, which will help your survivors. But you’re not alone, and along the way whilst scavenging there’s always the danger of other survivors appearing who are after the same thing as you are, which means business. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and nothing comes for free.But what sounds so simple can turn into a problematic fight of resources and humanity. What if your kid uses up too much supplies, but can’t pull his or her weight when it comes to supporting your survivors? And as each day passes in-game, the harsh reality kicks in as the difficulty spike makes one thing clear: as good as you think things are going, something that could ruin you could always be around the corner.
This does raise a potential issue, because even though the challenging nature of the game can be quite fulfilling, the rapid change in pace and difficulty can be quite intimidating for new players. Especially as you move further into the game the pressure becomes quite apparent, though this change in pace is unfortunately not always as gradual as you’d expect.This War of Mine: The Little Ones is a simple game that is elevated greatly by its excellent preventation and storytelling, which create a an experience that despite its nature can make for quite an intense experience that may prove challenging for a lot of players. The war is ours, and every decision lies in our hands, and every decision has its consequences.