Ludum Dare 41: YOU LEFT ME.

“YOU LEFT ME.” by Angela He.

“You wake up in a different world. […] You’ve forgotten something important. But what? Remember – before it’s too late, and you’re lost forever. […] A dark/funny/surreal game about loneliness and loss. Comes with chat-speaking cyclopic cat and moon that tells dad jokes. […] Warning: there is explicit handling of suicide.”

When you ever lost somebody close to you, you will know the feeling. A sadness, that overgrows your mind. A void right inside your brain and heart. A numbness in your eyes, ears and even your skin, because your body refuses to sense something else beside this emptiness. “YOU LEFT ME.” is a game about exactly that – and why it’s important to overcome this feeling.

You wake up in your own bed, but in another world. An one-eyed cat sleeps beside you, but when you raise it out of its slumber, it will express some exaggerated joy because of each touch of you, and then you’ll have a chat about the irrelevance of normality. The shining moon will tell you bad jokes (maybe to cheer you up?), but sooner or later it will also sprinkle some depressing words and questions into your conversation, before the red disk on the horizon decides to go silent. Can you read the post-it stickers on the fridge? Can you understand them? What’s their significance? Did you write them? What is there to remember?

You don’t want to, but eventually you will have to. You have to travel to places like a clinic, your work and to the place, where it all began and ended at the same time. Your mask is cracking, and no glue can stop it from doing so. No pills can completely heal your soul, if you don’t confront yourself with the true reason of your fading smile.

“YOU LEFT ME.” is a surrealistic, melancholic and still beautiful game about one of the basic fears of humankind: Losing somebody. Each of the game locations represents a strategy one might try to handle the depression that comes with such a loss. Overloading yourself with work to get distracted for example, to swallow drugs just to numb the pain or to take a trip down memory lane, without even recognizing it.

Something similar goes for the five different endings, because they show off the variety of consequences that go with your decisions. A game dedicated to everyone who already went through something terrible like this, where each of the wonderful illustrations and the well placed sentences might perfectly speak to your soul in this case. For everybody else, it could be a mirror into the inner self of others, so that you can understand them just a little bit better. Once again, Angela He reached out her hand with a stunning game to me – and of course I accepted this gesture. She is one of the few artists and game makers out there that are truly able to build up a connection with their audience through their work, and that’s an admirable talent. >>PLAY