What struck me first about Watch Me Stream My Mental Breakdown was the gorgeous visuals. Set in Japan(?), it has a Yokai Watch aesthetic about it, fusing the kawaii with angry demonic faces on command (notably your best friend Arisa and your father).
As Pochi, a hopeless day-dreaming panda, you have the aspirations of being a full-time gamer. Not the solitary type conducting A/B Testing or performing raids with pals in fantasy titles, but the streaming variety, covering a broad spectrum of genres, fulfilling the appetite of a loyal fanbase.
Unfortunately, your parents and Arisa don’t share the sentiment and feel you’re wasting your time. Nevertheless, you start streaming content with a partnership goal, going full-time and paid for your endeavours. To build upon this strategy, you summon a custom deck of cards.
Watch Me Stream My Mental Breakdown PC Review
Deck-building games aren’t my thing. After playing many titles, I think it’s due to the learning curve and lack of dynamics. The most recent card game I enjoyed though was Cardpocalypse. Again, brilliant visuals, but it was the user-friendly experience and relatable story that had me.
Watch Me Stream My Mental Breakdown, from Ultaan Games (Twitter), offers a similar setup, though I had to play through quite a few times to get it. It wasn’t until I realised you could hover over the interface for tool-tips, that proved very helpful, though there is a brief tool-tip/tutorial at the beginning.
The game aims to counter negative user responses, toxicity, with the cards in your deck. You start with four, discarding one each round to gain another, or you can pass if you’re feeling confident (or confused).
Have A Heart
Pochi lives alone in his apartment, in education at the start of the game, and financially supported by his parents. His mum wishes to nurture him for good, but his father wants him out of his life (and pocket). Those around give the impression that he’s a slob, but other than poor time management, he’s not a bad panda.
His studio (as in apartment, not workspace) is a place for sleeping and playing games. Your options include leaving home to work part-time, resting to regain your mental health points, and streaming.
There are three hearts in the top left corner of the screen which indicate your lives – once depleted, it’s game over. You also need to keep your finances in check to pay for rent, taxes, food and the occasional in-game boost.
As for the main attraction, you can stream from a selection of genres that are a bit of a niche or in-demand. Some of these options are free, but for the more popular streams, you have to pay to enter. Once you get sponsorship, ads and moderators, you can start living the dream.
The Storm Before The Calm
Before we live the dream, we have to go through the nightmare: the audience. You have to fulfil their hunger for content which is represented by a number from the start. With each card, you have the chance to reduce that. Get it to zero, and you move on to the next section.
To counter the hunger in Watch Me Stream My Mental Breakdown, you have a toxicity level which gradually increases from these horrible little trolls – criticising your mum, your game choices, and anything else disruptive. To reduce the toxicity, you play cards that lower it, or apply a shield to deflect it.
Once the toxicity increases, the risks are higher as you can suffer more damage, represented by your mental health. Still, you can play even better cards in your deck – sometimes ‘dropping the mic’ and coming out relatively unscathed. If your health reaches zero though, you have a mental breakdown and lose a life.
Despite the terminology, the approach is light-hearted, but with some serious themes that can be addressed… whenever. I won’t cover those points here, but I admire the direction Ultaan Games took; it’s thoughtful and expertly done. It’s fair to assume that they were full-time streamers in the past, but I understand that they are a Psycholinguistics graduate, so it makes sense. Stop profiling me!
Don’t Cross The Streams
Back to Watch Me Stream My Mental Breakdown gameplay and something I didn’t realise initially was a very fundamental point: you’re trying to grow an audience, so playing your best cards to fulfil the audience’s hunger straightaway is a bad move. You need to prolong it to gain followers and advertising revenue.
Unfortunately, I missed this and relied on Mama Panda to pay my rent. Anytime the money dipped, I’d work some part-time jobs (a mini-game of pressing a red button repeatedly that was strangely therapeutic). Pochi wasn’t making anything from the streams.
In some respects, Pochi’s goal mirrors this site, though I’m not looking for fame or money. However, to contradict that statement, money wouldn’t be turned away. Feel free to send your BitCoin, only because gold is too heavy to post. To conclude, I now identify as a panda.
Sometimes Watch Me Stream My Mental Breakdown feels more like a visual novel, as the story in the game isn’t an afterthought, and it didn’t take too long for me to root for the underdog, or underpanda, desperate for him to him reach his goals, but it’s not an easy ride. It’s not a melancholy title, though it isn’t without bittersweet moments when you feel sorry for poor ol’ Pochi.
Watch Me Stream My Mental Breakdown Review Summary
Watch Me Stream My Mental Breakdown is a brilliant insight into identity. It doesn’t cater to a niche audience due to the streaming aspects, but anyone producing content will identify with it early on. It’s an enjoyable experience once you get used to the cards, but the journey may have you readdressing your YouTube career.
I encourage to you try it for yourself as there’s a playable demo on the Steam page.