Platforms: PlayStation 4 (reviewed) and Windows
I Want To Be Human is a score attack action platformer about a vampire girl and a hat boy. With love being banned and the girl and boy being caught smooching, they are arrested and subjected to genetic manipulation which turns them into the aforementioned vampire and hat. What follows is their attempt to find a way to change back to normal and that involves grabbing a shotgun and blasting a bunch of bad guys to bits. The story is described as tongue-in-cheek and if they stopped at the initial idea it would have been fine, but it quickly began to feel like they were trying way too hard to be funny and edgy. With boss names like Toweljerk and Sir Major Dick Hipster, it’s easy to see exactly what kind of “humor” is offered up here and most of it falls flat.
Questionable design choices also plague I Want To Be Human. The color palette consisting solely of red, black, and white makes crowded fights a complete incomprehensible mess. With the background, bullets, and blood all being the same color, figuring out what is going on is tough when there are more than a couple of enemies on the screen. There are also a lot of odd level design choices as well. The most glaring being the placement of items in the foreground that just randomly block what is happening in the background where your character actually is. As far as I found, there is no mechanic that allows you travel between these different planes, so these objects seem to be there solely to screw with your vision. Also messing with your vision are constant text bubbles from both your character and enemies. These pop up all the time and do nothing but get in the way of the action. Even worse is that they consist of such fantastic one-liners as “You suck at life” and “You tampon.” As well as my personal favorite, “You are such a dildohead.” This is comedic writing at its absolute best here.
Surprisingly, one thing that the game does pretty well are its platforming controls. I’m very picky about how platformers control and I Want To Be Human actually feels good with solid handling and even decent wall and double jump mechanics. It’s just unfortunate that the design choices almost completely negate them. This becomes glaringly apparent in the second world thanks to a huge difficulty spike. In the first world, there is little in the way of challenge, but as soon as you move on to the second the game becomes one giant troll and actually feels nearly impossible. Instant deaths, unavoidable traps, and enemies that will quickly destroy you are all too prevalent and you aren’t eased into how they work. Instead, you’re just thrown into the fire to die one frustrating death after another. It goes from being mildly entertaining to nearly unplayable and that’s just not fun.
Another sore spot comes in the form of the sound design. From the shitty pop punk song that plays on title screen to the god awful sound effects, I Want To Be Human is better played with the sound muted. The music during the actual levels does improve over the grating title screen song, but the sound effects remain an annoyance throughout. Whenever you get hit, and that’s going to happen a lot, your character yells out the same shrieking “Ow!” I was honestly afraid someone would think I was torturing a small child while I was playing. Then there’s the pause screen that sounds like someone is just randomly banging on shit. It’s like the entire goal of the sound design was just to drive you insane. Well, mission accomplished.
I don’t say this lightly because I know someone actually spent time making I Want To Be Human and they’re probably proud of it, but it’s a terrible game. It’s neither fun nor funny and I feel a little ripped off only paying $2.49 for it. I truly feel bad for anyone that bought the Steam version for $14.99. Do yourself a favor and act like I Want To Be Human doesn’t exist. If I could erase it from my memory, I would.