What do you do when the most awesome game in the whole wide world gets abducted by a mega-millionaire and kept in his super-secret stash of unspeakables in a super evil mansion? There’s no cause greater than trying to save a game from extinction, and in Delete After Reading, you’ll embark on this noble quest with a ghost, a rabbit, and a goblin while escaping the clutches of the dreadful Destiny himself.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, will give you the opportunity to get back at Destiny for giving you a succession of bad days – and nobody wants bad days. Right?
Table of contents:
DELETE AFTER READING VISUALS
This vibrant text-based narrative adventure is basically all about scrolling through chunks of text and paying attention to all the words you read, as each one might just leave a clue as to the whereabouts of your next target. Puzzles are littered all throughout the game, each one presented in colourful and stylish artwork that does away with any kind of pixel hunting when trying to solve each one.
Simply tapping on these items and scenarios will reveal new things you need to do, combinations you need to unlock, and other cerebral challenges, and every so often, you’ll get snippets of what counts as cut scenes laid out in a comic book-esque manner with all the speech bubbles and panels. The stellar voice acting complements the overall youthful vibe of the game, along with the very distinct voice of the protagonist as the story unfolds from a first-person point-of-view.
I particularly loved the energy and spunk of the protagonist based on his internal narration alone, which immediately makes you want to root for him despite not knowing anything about him (except for his unholy rage against cauliflower cheese).
THE GAMEPLAY OF DELETE AFTER READING
With not much else but text pushing you forward across each chapter, you need to scroll up or down and tap on coloured phrases or words to get clues as to what you need to do next. Sometimes, puzzles can be solved simply by being observant; other times, you’ll really need to squeeze your brain cells to put two and two together (basic math skills included) and come up with an answer.
In that sense, I didn’t particularly enjoy how the solutions to the puzzles sometimes felt completely absurd – and not in a charming point-and-click-adventure-esque kind of way. In a certain chapter, for instance, you’ll need to go back and forth across a labyrinthian home looking for certain items, and while it’s pretty ingenious to simulate a maze or dungeon told only through text, it can be a little frustrating going through each room making sure you don’t miss anything. There are certain sequences to the rooms too – going back to one room after visiting another might just make events in that room change to a certain degree. There’s also this one key you need to grab to enter something else, and you’ll need to actually tap the word in order to grab it.
It’s also a bit of a challenge to navigate through the text in general – the sensitivity of the scrolling is a tad wonky. Plus, there’s no back button after zooming into an object, so I always had to use the actual back button on my phone to get back to where I was in the text.
WHAT’S THE APPEAL?
Perhaps my biggest gripe here is the absence of an auto-save function. While chapters are short, it’s not very ideal for a mobile game not to have these saves, as you can’t just dive into a quick session while you’re out and about. You’ll need to sit down and go through the whole chapter in one sitting – the game even suggests you grab a pen and paper ready beside you for quick notes, adding to the less-than-mobile experience of the title.
I do have to applaud the game for trying to switch things up, and for presenting everything in a unique way using just text. Everything is top-notch in the visuals department – the beautiful soundscapes included – but the gameplay itself leaves a bit more to be desired.
Still, I did enjoy the game’s actual writing – the dialogue and the narration of the characters are simply superb. The overall runtime doesn’t demand too much from you – just a little under three hours – and if you’re looking for a fresh new twist to your average narrative puzzle, Delete After Reading might just be your cup of tea.