There’s no way I’m not milking ‘No’ in this Say No More review [! intentionally removed]. If I didn’t, then I wouldn’t have learned anything from this life-changing experience. Say No! More is a delightful cocktail of Danny Wallace’s Yes Man, The Invention of Lying, and the World Of Golden Eggs’ visual quirkiness. If you know all three of those well, this game has nailed it.
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Turning up to work as the intern, it seems like everyone in the entire building looks down on you. “Get my coffee”, “Fix the photocopier”, “Help me remove this glass from my asscheeks from sitting on the photocopier” – they’re all demands, but not a single one of them is a request, or followed up with “please”.
But what are you gonna do? Say No More. Boom – we’ve used the title once more. The thing is, nobody uses ‘No’ anymore – at least, until now. Unearthing the Holy Grail of self-help in the workplace, you find a cassette featuring Coach. Dressed how he sounds, he’ll teach you the ancient art of saying No!
Each time you’re given a demand, you press the spacebar (or use the controller) to unleash a No! Office workers will step aside or land on their fannies (that’s what the Americans say for bum-bums), and you can continue to stomp through the large open-plan office of the Yes Folk.
Note that this isn’t a casual stomp, for the intern is on a mission with the physical malice of Michael Douglas in Falling Down (seek it out). The mission? to retrieve their beloved unicorn packed-lunch box that the chain of command has taken. Naturally, you would have said no, but the Coach wasn’t in your life back then, and these people who claim to be your friends are abusing your good nature. Time to fight back: Say No More. Blam! Done it again.
Say No More is incredibly unique. For the first couple of chapters, Studio Fizbin (Minute of Islands) and Thunderful Publishing (Lonely Mountains: Downhill and Deadly Premonition 2) were selling me snake oil. I had no way of telling until realising that a) I hadn’t stopped to breathe, 2) there isn’t that much of a game here. While that would have most people reaching for the eject button on their Sony Walkman with authentic orange foam headphones, you have to appreciate just how fun it is.
It’s like a spin-off of a satirical cartoon like South Park or perhaps The World Of Golden Eggs that I referenced initially. The characters are animated like they are made of Lego, the colours look like all the best colours of the rainbow and selected by Care Bears, and the music is so uplifting I felt I was wearing a bra. It just had me bouncing in my seat, enjoying every minute of it.
You can issue them like it’s nobodies business, but there will come a time when you need something that’s going to flay the ‘baddies’ with the Winds of Assertion. That’s where the charge No! comes into play.
Holding the spacebar will overexert the intern to say no more with an almighty blast of the lungs, often sending the target out of the room and through the furniture, so understandably, it needs to be charged up. There aren’t any cooldowns; instead, you can make gestures such as laughing at co-workers, nodding sarcastically, or being that person in the credits ‘Person in crowd that claps slowly’. This fills the charge gauge so you can continue with the No! movement.
You can add even flavours to your tone, like a heated no, chilled no, and a nonchalant kinda ‘meh’ response. Each has its benefits, but dare I say, it was fun to go through them for the sake of it as Say No More is so moreish.
Passing on Coach’s teachings to their own disciples, fellow staff will tease with the word in real situations, egging each other on to Say No More. Eh? This was the third reference, using the Ricky Gervais film The Invention of Lying, as you see events unfold as people realise the power of No! as if being handed a Zippo from Prometheus.
If you’re a fan of customisations and like to pimp your games, you’ll be pleased to find out that Say No More has a character creation option at the beginning with some wicked options. The usual choices are adding beards and glasses, skin tones, and fashion, but the real pièce de résistance is selecting your intern’s vocals and picking a language. Perhaps you’d prefer to say Non! or Não! instead of No! Unintentionally, my first intern ended up looking like Karl Urban as Billy Butcher in The Boys. I won’t repeat what he would say instead of No!
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Say No More is unlike any other game I’ve played before, and unless you’re going to be a smartass, I’m sure it will be unique for you, too. It’s the kind of game that will remain on my computer to jump back and forth to when I need a pick-me-up – a bit like Teenage Blob; one of those rare games that you put on repeat, again and again, irrespective of achievements, setting hi-scores or trying to impress your mates.
More importantly, it’s an inspiration. I’m just a girl who can’t say no, and only today I ended up giving myself more work when I could have refused. Huh. Say No More. That last one was a bit more profound.
- Unique, innovative gameplay.
- Frequent laugh-out-loud moments.
- Feel-good entertainment.
- Brilliant ‘chunky’ graphics.
- Character creation!
- Education (how to be assertive).
- Not always clear what to do (despite the simplicity).
- In reality, it’s mostly a one-button attack, regardless if I love it.
- Lots of cutscenes.