Developed by the small team at Niila Games and published by Nakana.io, a publisher who focuses on games that provide a message with experimental experiences, StilStand is a dark interactive novel about a girl struggling with depression, loneliness, and anxiety. This narrative-heavy adventure is bound to hit close to home for some players and definitely is a worthy game to sit firmly within Nakana.io’s digital library.
Like many other Nakana releases, there isn’t much “game” in this digital download. To be clear, this shouldn’t be look upon negatively. Instead, this different approach provides a unique experience that is relatable and has potential to stick with you well after the credits are finished rolling. The 40 minute campaign is properly paced, giving players enough time to learn just enough about the female protagonist without overstaying its welcome.
Filled with hand drawn black and white sketches, each panel looks like a scribbled doodle from your high school notebook. This might sound awful on paper but blends into the darker tone of the narrative well. The exaggerated facial features and obscure proportions actually looks kind of… gross, at times. But that is sort of the point. If this game was presented with perfectly drawn figures, it would not be the same. At times, the color blue is used to indicate an interactive element, like using the analog stick to raise and lower a hand to smoke or drink. For the most part, the player just taps the A button to advance the story to the next panel but these small interactive moments add personality by emphasizing the destructive habits of the main character.
The female protagonist is clearly dealing with anxiety and depression issues and she manifests a dark shadowy figure that follows her wherever she goes, influencing decisions along the way. The events that are presented can apply to just about everyone: do you go to that party or stay home, do you swipe left or right on that dating app and reply if you are matched, do you monitor your level of drink so you can stop before you puke? These real world situations are relatable, right down to playing Flappy Bird on your phone to pass the time due to boredom.
Trophies hunters will want to take note as most Trophies are obtainable through natural play. During my initial playthrough, I only missed one; during the text message scene early in the campaign, I should have scrolled up to see all the previous conversations instead of scrolling down to read the newest updates. Worry not, as the player can easily and quickly jump to any chapter from the main menu and I was able to earn this Trophy, snagging the Platinum along the way. This game only costs $2.99 so it is worthwhile even if you are mildly interested or just want to earn some easy Trophies.
If you want to see more, I encourage you to check out my stream embedded in this article.
With the relatable narrative and a main character who procrastinates due to her self-doubts, there is something here that pretty much everyone has experienced at some point in their life. That is why this game is memorable and creates a lasting experience just like so many other Nakana titles.