Continue?9876543210 is out, and as strange as its title suggests

Phil Savage

Released last week, Continue?9876543210 slipped under the radar somewhat. Mostly because we were battling the after-effects of excess, having overindulged on a gluttonous triumvirate of Christmas, New Year, and Steam sale. But, having now played a little of the self-described "artsy" indie, it seems worthy of some attention, if only because it will be of interest to the sort of person who enjoys a little death, philosophy, and corrupted retro oddness in their games.

Created by Jason Oda - him what did 2012's excellent webgame Skrillex Quest - Continue?9876543210 casts you as a dead game protagonist, running around the innards of Random Access Memory, trying to escape from ultimate deletion. Basically, it's a dark and poignant version of '90s CGI cartoon ReBoot .

I haven't played much yet - certainly not enough to see how its themes congeal into a cohesive statement - but your basic task is to explore its RPG-lite levels, talking to characters and fighting angry cubes. Each level is broken into rounds, and each round is timed. By the last round, you'll need to have opened a path to the exit: done by 'collecting' lightning strikes, which clear away the debris blocking your path. You'll also need to collect Prayers, which grant Shelter that - in later levels - supposedly let you hide from deletion.

There's an almost oblique beauty in the depiction of RAM space, where desolate cities are populated by broken shades of characters. Each person seems to speak in a mixed-up, dreamy patois, creating an eerie poetry of ghostly, half-remembered attachment. I've not experienced enough of it to confirm whether it's any good, and it certainly Isn't For Everyone™. But if cerebral art-indie is a thing that you like, it's definitely worth a look .

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