Posted: May 8, 2014
Continue?9876543210 is a surrealistic adventure game that is somewhat stylized like an old RPG game. Or something like that. Continue is a very strange game; The basic idea is that you play as a video game character who is at the end of his life. The classic, 'Continue?' screen of arcade games of old has passed, and no quarters were inserted. And so, you have 'died', and enter into a realm where all data from a previous game goes to be erased, wiped clean for the world to start anew again for the new player, and New Game option. In this desolate space, data is assimilated into bytes and data, and you having not made your peace yet struggle to survive in a climate made to delete you.
In the game, you start on a level that is representative of some gameplay trope, IE town, field, ruins, etc. There are a variety of NPCs and locked doors. You can talk to the people, who will either try to sell you something, give you a hint of some sort in the level you're currently in, say something about the story of the game, or say some rather useless blabber. NPCs phase in and out of existence, however. There's also monsters that spawn on the level, and wander around. Touching them triggers a battle scene, that transitions to a different scene like an RPG game. However, the battles aren't turn-based, but real-time, and work more similarly to a Zelda game. However, what they exactly are changes per encounter. Some are top-down, some are side-scrolling, some make you defend something, or you just have to fight all-out. Winning battles or doing things around the level usually get you a key, which you can use to unlock one of the various locked structures around the level. Inside the structure you'll either find a shop, something to push the story, some sort of side-quest, or a person who will either build structures or cast lightning.
Now building structures and casting lightning is important. The game has a sort of time limit, both in levels and the overall game. The levels you go to are randomized, and each has differences to each other. However, you have a certain number of 'rounds' that will pass before the whole level is eliminated. If you're in a level when it's eliminated, it's game over and you get a bad ending. There is a time period you have to do stuff in the level, and then the round ends and you face some kind of challenge. This can be like a tricky level, a boss fight, some kind of puzzle, etc. They're random. If you win, you get a big benefit to your cause of survival, but if you lose you miss your chance for some aid. Aid for what? To exit the level, you need to get people you encounter to cast lightning, as casting lightning will destroy some of the blocks randomly blocking one of the several exits out of a level. However, you also need to build structures. After every two levels or so, you'll be in a sort of 'storm' you need to survive, or else its game-over. In the storms, you're in a town that is formed of the buildings you have made people build in the normal stages for you. A storm hits, and the buildings are stricken by lightning. You have to hide in a building and wait for the storm to pass, though if your building is hit and destroyed you have a certain time limit to quickly scamper around the town to another building. If there are no other buildings or you run out of time, it's game-over.
You will always be given a choice of either Lightning or Building Structures. Lightning will clear a path to the next level after a few lightning strikes, while building structures will create buildings to hide in during these 'storm' sections.
Basically the game is all about time management and succeeding in the various challenges that both the monsters, NPCs, and Round End's bring, for doing these allows you to gain chances at either Lightning or Structure Building, to make it past the individual level in time and to build structures for the storms that happen every two levels or so. You'll either like the game or not, it's a bit complicated to understand at first, and won't be fun for everyone.
Also there are side-quests you can do that effect your story. The game has multiple endings, possible level paths, and more... What you do in levels, what level path you take, and the like effects the ending you work towards. The game is kind of made to be played multiple times, as its not very long and you won't go to many of the levels or see the whole game in a single playthrough.
And the game gets weird. The story is told in a very indirect way, and some of the events that can happen are just absolutely bizarre. Honestly the story feels most similar to something that David Lynch might of concocted up if he were to make a video game about video games. Depending on who you are, that might either be a good or bad thing.
The game's oddness is supplemented perfectly by its audio department. The game has a haunting soundtrack, interesting but odd sound design, but it all fits the weird atmosphere of the game perfectly.
And there isn't really much to say. The game is deceptively complicated, but actually rather simple when you get down to it. It strikes me as a huge love it/hate it type of game, and something that'll divide people's opinions on whenever it's good or not.
My stance is that it's interesting. The game itself is okay, but the atmosphere and some of the surreal elements I enjoyed. Of course, if you're less fond of such things, there will probably be less to enjoy in the game for yourself. Basically said, while there is a game here, the game is more about the experience. And depending on who you are, that experience will either be worth taking, or it won't be.
Continue may be worth it if you like experience-based games with a surreal and strange edge that are open to interpretation. If you don't like that, you probably won't like the game. Like the game itself, it all seems so complicated but it's so simple, really.