Visual Out, a 2D Metroidvania-style platformer from solo developer MadameBerry Games, may have finally figured what happens when a computer inevitably, inexplicably slows down and dies: a little green man goes bebopping around cyberspace fighting programs.
"As a program defying your operating system's wishes, plunge into the depths of a dying computer," its Steam page reads. "Uncover the secrets behind the computer's - and its creator's - demise."
Apart from discovery, your goal is to defeat the bosses of the PC's four sectors. But to even make it to them, you'll have to unlock six different abilities which focus on manipulating power, like "Jammer, Current, Turret" and others.
There's something unsettling about Visual Out's world. It uses an abstract mix of digital and natural themes to create a surreal place where butterflies and jellyfish float alongside glitches and code given form. The sector bosses look almost like germs, and there's a desolation to it all. "They deserted us," it says. "You're all that's left."
That aside, I'm more worried about the operating system. It acts like some kind of overseer, its directives periodically cutting through the game's synthy electronic soundtrack. "You have no choice but to execute your program, don't you?" it asks. "I pity you," it says.
Visual Out is dripping with sci-fi meta-narrative funk and sounds like a fun, minimalist spin on Metroidvanias. It's available on Steam and Itch for $10. If you're looking for a faster, decidedly more neon 2D romp through a PC, have a gander at Exception, where you play a program trying to save an old woman's computer from a virus.