Review: Watch This!

Store page / View this review on Steam

I’ve been sitting here for about ten minutes trying to come up with some profound insight to start this review with, as I do with pretty much all my reviews, but you know what? This game is just dumb. Dumb games exist, and I even like a few of them, but others are just so profoundly stupid that they don’t really deserve a complex, in-depth takedown. There’s a seed of a good game buried in the manure of Watch This, a germ of an idea that could make a pretty entertaining romp, and since its release other games have built on the whole “deadly game show” concept. I won’t give Watch This credit for that, though, because it’s really not intelligent enough to have spawned anything in its wake.

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In the dystopian hell future that Trump is surely dragging us all towards, the hottest new game show in the world is a sort of murder maze take on The Running Man. You are deposited into a twisting labyrinth of pipes, catwalks, spikes, grinders, and more, and are tasked with finding your way out alive. There’s money tucked away all over the place though, and the more you score the more fabulous prizes you can escape with. But you’ll also need to find keys to reach the exit, and finding them may put you in the path of the maze’s deadly denizens. With a little bit of luck and some help from magic powers, you just might walk away with a grand prize or two.

All of this is explained up front in a corny, awkward, and possibly racist animated sequence that also features the likenesses of Vladimir Putin and a triple-breasted alien. Trying to make a game funny with memes and edgy humor is almost always worse than playing it straight, and the “jokes” in Watch This just sap my patience for the rest of the game. And that’s a problem, because the randomly-generated mazes you scoot around are claustrophobic messes of confusing chambers and boring hallways. I found it impossible to keep my bearings or any sense of direction at all, which led to wandering around until I stumbled across a key, a door, or death.

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None of the traps are any more interesting than crushers or conveyors over spike pits, yet somehow the enemies are the weakest part of this package. There are a couple flavors, like the naked green mutant, the random ninja guy, and the genuinely cool TV brute, but they all follow roughly the same pattern, which is chasing directly after you. They can’t climb or jump, which is a real problem in levels with so many ladders and platforming challenges. Really if you can hold out until you reach a vertical room, you’ll leave your foes impotently pacing while you hustle off to other parts of the maze. The only things that will kill you are spiked floors if you flub a jump, and crushers if you’re not paying the least bit of attention.

So that’s it, running through boring, confusing mazes and collecting junk. It’s not scary or challenging, and it sure as hell isn’t funny, which doesn’t leave much reason to play it at all. I honestly expected a bit more from Watch This, considering how clean and detailed the graphics are, but that’s literally the only place this game isn’t terrible. The developers might have realized this, which is why the store screenshots are all just boring scenes of rooms and halls. It’s a sad truth that meme games are often only as fun as their memes are, and the garbage that this one is built around isn’t enough to prop up a Flash game, much less a full product like this.

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