Indie Review: Calm Time

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Calm Time gives new meaning to the term “bad game.” Its slow and sluggish gameplay is only a mere insult to the player. The game’s dull infatuation with murder points to a bigger failing — more immoral and mindless than anything I’ve played.

Calm Time should have been called Senseless Killing. From a first-person perspective, you play as a privileged white psychopath brought to life by (in)glorious 8-bit graphics. Idiotically, the killing starts after a female guest asks you to bring her a knife so she can slice bread. Of course, you don’t have the option to hand her the knife or slice the bread yourself. Unless you turn the game off or stand idle, developer Goos Entertainment forces you to kill the woman and continue a positively boring rampage.

You walk at a numbskull’s pace from room to room on a meaningless mission to kill the rest of your guests — moronic guests who might manage to evade you, only to hide in another corner rather than leave the premises and property. Your stabbing motion is so lazy that it’s surprising when it does damage to a guest. Acting out the worst horror show in recent memory, you follow bleeding guests and stab them until they’re dead.

The game’s attempts at psychological horror are pathetic. When you go to the basement to cut the house’s power off, you notice a dead woman in a white dress chained to the wall. Obviously, the protagonist has a history of violence. After you cut the power off, the woman in the white dress pops up unchained in many places as you track down your victims. The screen shows static when you stab her image. It might be profound if you forget your own intelligence and dignity.

Calm Time is very popular at Game Jolt. People have called it fun even though video games, for decades, have offered far more inventive ways of killing people. Remember the various fatalities of the Mortal Kombat series? Calm Time trades creativity for mean-spirited violence and demonstrates a lack of conscience rather than the potential of video games.

Overall Review

Score
Total
1 Legendarily Awful

User Ratings

5.3/10
Leave a review Total votes: 18 votes

Review Pros and Cons

Creepy Piano Notes
Slow, Tiresome Gameplay
Ugly Graphics
Utter Lack of Morality and Good Sense

18 Comments

  1. Zaclink7

    It was a great game and I got a few jump scares!

  2. This game is supposed to invoke the killer inside of you. He walks slow because he knows the victims can’t escape, why waste the energy running when you’ll get them eventually? Ugly graphics? Grow up and quit being a graphics whore.

    I give it 7/10 because I personally don’t like killing innocent people in games, makes it tough to play fallout 3 to get all achievements.

  3. The Lie of the CAKE

    Played this because of a Youtuber that recommended it. The game, if one can call it that, is bad. Really, really bad. Horrible controls, bad graphics (even for a title like this). People can try to hide the turd that is this game behind some kind of artistic excuse but really, a turd is a turd no matter how you try to sell it.

    No character depth, no story, no consequences, no nothing. An exercise in patience at best. As said before, utter garbage.

  4. I stopped reading when I saw the word “privileged”. I know immediately what I’m in for when game reviewers use that word and it’s never a good thing.

    • Jed Pressgrove

      The protagonist has the money to attract many potential victims to a big house, so he is privileged compared to, say, a lower-class guy who kills a gas station worker during a robbery. Not sure I see the problem with the description. You ever seen the Hitchcock movie Rope? That movie also played with the idea of privileged white killers (and Jimmy Stewart put them in their place).

  5. @Jed_Pressgrove (dont know how to reply to comments, bleh whatever)
    I dont think the game needs artistic value at all, since art is about expression. the term artistic value itself is incredibly subjective (just look at the impressionists and their critics). Art doesn’t need to be understood, or meet certain requirements. In my opinion, i think its kind of unfair to judge this game on a scale and compare it with other games of completely different genres that exist for different purposes. Racing games and shooters dont have the same audience a lot of the time, so why should we assume that this game has the same target audience as all of the other games in forever? In my opinion, the answer is “we shouldn’t”. Its okay to not like a game, but i think the way you pointed out its shortcomings and simply assumed it was meant for action and stealth was an incorrect approach.

    Here’s what i think the point of the game is:
    If you are able to observe yourself while immersing yourself in the experience, try doing so, and if not, watch a playthrough or something. can you draw parallels between yourself and Johnny-what’s-his-face from the Shining when he is trying to chase down and murder his son with an axe? maybe thats what the game wants you to do and thats how it expects you to act. or maybe not, maybe its meant to be a Manhunt clone…. what do you think is more likely?

  6. Sure, Im going to say this right off the bat; the gameplay isn’t as fun as it could be. MAYBE, thats the point of the game? To me, it looks like this game is focusing on gaming as less of a medium for enjoyment, and more artistic value. We’ve all seen art we don’t like, but hey, its an expression of the artist, is it not? you wouldn’t go up to the Mona Lisa in the louvre and say “I dont get it ONE OUT OF TEN THOUSAND” Even if you didnt like it, would you? even if you hated it beyond measure? I dont know, maybe you would. the point is, its someone having a go at art and you dont need to judge it so harshly.
    next point,
    For a pixel game with a low level of graphics, it still does a good job at creating an aesthetic that creates a chilling atmosphere. Sometimes you need to play games like this in the right setting for them to make any real impact. Playing in a crowded area in daylight would ruin the experience and prevent you from getting into it. Playing alone, in a dark room, with headphones and the sound way up would yield a different result.
    NEXT POINT:
    you simply can not compare this game to mortal kombat while saying that MK has better ways to kill people. They were clearly made for completely different audiences and to play in a different state of mind from one another. would you compare chess and call of duty? I certainly wouldnt, because that would be foolish.
    Fourthly;
    I’m -pretty- sure the protagonist in the game is meant to be the ghost. The one who tries to protect the house guests and stop a crazed killer from stabbing them. Just because you control a character, it doesnt mean that theyre the good guy. The movie “Trance” does this well *spoilers*, where the main character whom we assume is the good guy, turns out to have been a complete asshole in the past, which makes him an antagonist KIND OF SORT OF LIKE THE GUY YOU PLAY AS.
    For a pixel game with 2D sprite characters and low poly, its actually pretty graphic, so props to them for turning squares into creepy and disturbing. I never said I thought this game was good, just that it was Interesting, which should definitely count for more than it does in the gaming fandom; Probably because a lot of people just want to shoot at people in call of duty like games.
    Speaking of call of duty like games, Spec Ops: the line (which was based off of “Heart of Darkness”) was a great game, not for its gameplay being good, but its gameplay being terrible. I suggest you all look at the Extra Credits episode on it (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjaBsuXWJJ8 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJZIhcCA2lk)

    finally, let me say this is all my opinion, so if you think im wrong, go ahead and say it. Im simply trying to give this game a second chance that it deserves. Not all games are good or fun to play, but just because of it you can’t dismiss them as being shitty and not worth playing.

    P.S. to J. Nixon: Indie games are not an industry, nor do they have one. The reason they are Indie games, is because of the absence of their affiliation with an industry, hence the term ‘INDIE’

    • Jed Pressgrove

      [Bathos], thank you for all of your thoughts. I don’t see much artistic value in Calm Time, but I am glad it is getting people to engage in a dialogue.

      Interesting that you mention Spec Ops — I’ve been meaning to give that game a shot (no pun intended).

  7. To the other commenters resorting to insults in order to prove their point, please calm down. You can like the game or dislike it. I dislike it, and I don’t find any of you who enjoy the game an idiot. I think Calm Time lacks very much in not only just its gameplay, but also its storyline. Graphics are poor but I’ll put it aside since indie games generally have bigger limitations which is completely understandable (not funded by some mega company). The game is basically “you” walking about trying to kill everyone. Yes, the fact that you are the killer is interesting, but I think a lot more could have been developed from this notion. I had a hard time trying to finish the game because it was really boring. From the first kill, all the other murders just got boring. Also, I believed Calm Time wanted gamers to probably explore that buried sense of mania in them, but failed to by not giving an option. You are forced to kill everyone in order for the game to end. When it got to the kid, I went like probably everyone else “aww man, no” but still went ahead. It zoned me out so I was hardly emotionally attached to even second guess my actions in the game because I was completely aware it was just that. A game. I wasn’t absorbed at all because the repetition pushed me away. It got to the point where I got irritated when the victims ran away. Some may argue that this may have meant that Calm Time carried out its intention of making me numb to the fact that I am “killing” someone but what I wanted was just to get this game over with.

    It would be a good first try though. Interesting starting idea but can definitely be further developed. Hoped to see perhaps a follow-up of the game.

  8. It’s so obvious that this person does not deserve to review games, and because people disagreed with his terrible opinion he created fake comments.

    • Jed Pressgrove

      Why would I create fake comments that disagree with me?

      I stand by my opinion, by the way. Calm Time was one of the worst games of 2013. I recommend playing better horror titles, such as Lakeview Cabin and Saturn 9.

  9. Are you really that daft? The game is meant to disturb you. You aren’t supposed to relate to the killer or see him as the good guy.

  10. Come on, do you really consider a shitty pseudo-art game a proof of society’s decadence?

  11. Yes, the player’s actions are senseless, but its not meaningless or an insult to indie games.

    Instead of being the victim who runs to eventually be killed, you are the killer. You can see straight away this man isn’t sane, and he goes deeper into madness with each kill. How many games let you change the POV like that? You honestly can say the usual horror formuls doesn’t get boring? Really?

    But there are some bugs and things I don’t like, but that’s not important.

  12. It does have an attention getting theme that allows the player to use their imaginations as they please. This is a very well made game with absolutely no story behind it. It is simply the player’s own “mental-review” that counts when it comes to Calm Time.

  13. I don’t see how can this game be a bad game. I had fun playing it, and I can’t understand your review. A game must be only smiling faces and flowers like Teletubbies? I know the deeloper of the graphic and pixelated games are his signature. And, how did you call this game? “Senseless Killing”? Riiight, because trowing birds against pigs is a very profound game. A game doesn’t have to be profound at any cost, if you have fun playing it, it can be as meaningless as you want. Now I’m wondering if you know something about indie games. It doesn’t seem so.

  14. This game is pure and utter garbage made by a psychopath, I swear! Truly insulting to the indie game industry!

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