I remember taking a world literature class in high school many years ago, and one of the most intriguing stories was Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, where a young man named Gregor Samsa wakes up one morning to find he has changed into a bug. There is no explanation for why this has happened, and the entire story takes place in the apartment he shares with his parents and younger sister. Despite this simple, and rather bizarre, premise, it was something that had managed to stick with me throughout the years. So when I discovered the demo for a game inspired by it, I simply had to check it out.
The demo covers Gregor’s transition into a bug in a pretty intriguing fashion. You wake up still in your human form, but once you leave the room and begin heading down the hallway, you feel as if something is a bit…off. While the first few photos on the wall are completely normal, it’s not long before the photos start to become distorted in one very significant way. Yes, you’ve guessed it. Everyone appears to be turning into bugs!
You end up back in your room, and it is clear that you are shorter than you were before. Despite this being a very unusual situation, Gregor is still focused on getting to work, even as the next hallway shows even more bug/human hybrids. Finally, Gregor realizes the seriousness of his situation when he takes notice of his new spindly bug legs and the startling fact that his previously normal room is now massive and in shambles. Or perhaps it’s not the room that’s bigger. Maybe…just maybe, poor Gregor’s actually just tiny now!
You spend just a little time in your full bug form, navigating the furniture and learning to climb up vertical surfaces when you’ve stepped in something sticky. And then the demo ends, leaving me to wonder where the game goes from here. While I thought the entire opening to the game was quite interesting, reviews I have read online seem to suggest that this might be the best part of the game. Because aside from the character’s name and his transformation into a bug, it doesn’t seem to have much else to do with the novella that inspired it.
It sounds like the rest of the game is rather boring and mainly focuses on the player navigating the world as a bug. Reviewers also reported a lot of crashes and other performance issues. And at 3-4 hours long and $25, it really doesn’t seem like it’s worth the price. So for anyone else who’s a fan of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, perhaps this demo might be worth your time, even if the full game is not.
This post was originally published on Virtual Bastion on September 14, 2021.