Review: Projector Face

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Period games are always a pleasure to experience for the effort put into their style. High fantasy and glossy sci-fi are endless, so titles that hearken back to antiquity or forgotten decades bring a welcome change of pace. Projector Face makes the most of its Great Depression-era silent film look, and fortunately has enough adventure game substance to match the style.

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From a forgotten attic in the woods comes The Projector, a peppy little reel-to-reel that you might remember from elementary school if you’re as ancient as I am. Somehow The Projector forms a body out of a pile of old clothes and sets off in search of that most precious of treasures, friendship. This is easier said than done for a machine-man with no mouth, and that’s where the puzzling in this adventure game comes in.

Every couple of screens you’ll encounter scruffy children to befriend, but with no way to speak you cannot get their attention. Some exploring and puzzling in the area will reveal a film reel and bits of film you can splice together into a show for the children. The aforementioned puzzling is the usual finding/combining/using items, luckily with more sensical solutions than a lot of adventure games offer. You’ll have plenty of challenges to overcome, with none holding you up for too long, I’d wager.

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The charming story is told solely through actions and silent film title cards. It’s a great feel for the game, especially paired with the dilapidated environments of the Great Depression. There are drawbacks to the silent film theme, though, as your mute protagonist cannot describe items or give any feedback on puzzle attempts besides shrugging. And while the art style is perfectly fine the animations are severely lacking, as is the sound design outside the old-tymey soundtrack.

Projector Face will last you about an hour, during which the story will run you through a surprising spread of emotions. It might not be particularly long or challenging but the puzzles are solid and getting things done is plenty gratifying. The game picks up once you start entertaining the children with your films, and has a few twists and turns before settling into the ending. Any fan of adventure games will find something to love in Projector Face, even if it is short and sweet.

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