by Camrin Santchi
reviewed on PC
The Power of No
In the modern world positivity has its good points, but an unfortunate fact about being agreeable is that people can and will see you as weak or a pushover when it comes down to it. It is this concept that Say No! More confronts, with a goal of teaching gamers the power of having self-respect and not being a floor mat, all through a comedic romp filled with positively charged negative attitudes.
Gamers take the role of an unnamed intern that is starting an office job along with other interns, in a strange world where ‘that word’ is illegal, until the intern acquires an odd motivational tape that inspires them to stand up against those who try and push them around, with the power of ‘no’. In Say No! More’s world, the word itself has enough power to send things flying, including those who try and take advantage of the intern, leading to a large spree of refusal through the office building in search of the intern’s stolen lunchbox, the final straw that broke the camel’s back when it came to simply too much for them to accept.
This game plays very simply, with the player character moving on their own and the only real abilities the gamer has to affect the world are to, well, say no. But the game teaches players there are a LOT of ways to do that, from charging up a shouted no, to a cold one or even a wacky one. Players unlock other types of no's while the story progresses, each one coming from further lessons from the tape that they found.
The story matches the game’s appearance in that while it is simple, that is by no means a bad thing and stands out impressively for revolving believe it or not a lesson. Aesops can be hit or miss in forms of media, but this reviewer definitely believes that it works in the case of Say No! More, and for how comedic and wacky it can be it deals with serious topics of self-worth and the power that simply having the ability to say no can have. This is especially clear in the ‘boss fights’ of each section, where certain foes will need multiple no's or even multiple charged no's in order to realize that the intern’s foot has been well and truly put down, showing just how stubborn someone may have to be in order to keep from giving in to something they disagree with.
The stubbornness point is strengthened by the power the tape itself holds, several times over the short story the intern is separated from the tape, and they are reduced to mumbling ‘uhms’ and ‘ahs’ rather than the firm ‘No’ that players get used to during segments that they have the confidence to stand up for themselves. This is most powerful in the penultimate chapter of the game, which this reviewer doesn’t want to spoil, so I will only point out that it’s a powerful and heavy lesson for a game to broach.
Unfortunately all four types of no's and the four ‘lead’ techniques don’t really seem to have a purpose, the only real strategy to Say No! More is when to charge up your no and making use of a technique to develop more charge, there isn’t really a purpose to switching to different types of nos except for the player’s preference regarding which is the best to make use of based on how it sounds or how the intern’s facial expression looks (Some look more constipated than others depending on the character creation done before the start). And if there is a difference of some kind, Say No! More doesn’t do enough to emphasize that so really it feels like it doesn’t matter while playing.
No? Or Maybe
In all Say No! More is a simple but powerful message in a simple but powerful style, that play to the strengths of Studio Fizbin and despite the meaning behind everything, the game knows not to take itself too seriously despite itself, allowing for a short but very well meaning experience that isn’t about never saying yes, or always saying no, but having the courage to just Say No! More.
Easy to follow story and mechanics
No real purpose to so many no's and techniques