Please Knock On My Door


Genre:    Adventure 

Developer:   Levall Games AB

Publisher:    Levall Games AB  

Released:   Sept 7, 2017              

Requirements (minimum):

  • OS: Windows 7 or higher 
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-2700k @ 3.5ghz or equivalent
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: GeForce GTX 670
  • Storage: 4 GB available space
  • Additional notes: The requirements listed above are those listed at Steam, but posts in Steam forums show the game works with much lower specs, one person playing it with a Celeron processor and another with onboard graphics. 




By flotsam


Please Knock On My Door

Levall Games AB

This is uncomfortably extraordinary.

I played a game called The Lady which the maker said was "what it was like to experience a panic attack". The single best description was grating – it wasn't fun, but it was ambitious and (based on some personal experience) metaphorically insightful.

Please Knock On My Door immerses you into what it is like to be suffering from all those things that get described generally as depression (anxiety amongst them). There is no grand quest to save the world, rescue the princess or find the treasure. The "simple" ambition is to make it through the week, the underlying grander objective to look after your mental well-being. It’s the easiest thing, and the most difficult thing (based on some personal experience).

You wake up and know you have to go to work. Leaving or staying are both fraught. If you leave you need to do so by 7.30 or risk being late. That has its own consequences. If you stay, there are different consequences. Neither is correct, and both aren't wrong.

Having lived through the sometimes paralysis that is leaving the house, this is an impressive encapsulation. So much so that it isn't fun, but that isn't the point. It's about the choices you make, how you feel about those choices, why you make them and how they help you or hinder you move through the week. About an hour or so later you will get one of three endings, depending on those choices.

My ending was distressing, but it ultimately concluded with some hope. My sun will rise again.

Mundane tasks (viewed externally) are your stock in trade. Eat, don't eat, shower or not. Respond to emails, chat on-line, play some games. Even just look out the window. Some are more elaborate. For instance, deliver a presentation at work. All of them are equally confronting.

Day passes to night and back to day, visible through the windows. It rains as well, and different people gather under the large tree outside. I grew to love that tree.

Two "voices" are your constant companion. They are inner thoughts, depicting the wrestling that goes on to make any decision. Encouraging, cajoling, pejorative – you have to listen to them, but you don’t have to pay attention. At least not to both. One may become more pervasive, depending on how your week progresses.

The minimalist but effective graphic style overlays an exceptionally written and constructed game world. We are used to games where choices affect how the game unfolds. Nothing that I have played does that as effectively as this. Or quite so bleakly and beautifully.

In my play-through I watched myself get sucked down into a dark abyss. I went from easily making decisions, to agonising over them, to choosing between the best of obviously bad ones, flailing as I sank. The way it was written had much to do with the impact of the emotions. Describing it doesn't do it justice.

There are three game modes, two involving a scoring system which affect how the decisions you make play out and the choices that might be available. Some choices will only be available to you if you have a particular score (I never did get to talk to my father). Game mode displays the numbers involved, giving you a capacity to see how different decisions might play out. Experience mode hides the numbers.

Story mode apparently removes the scoring altogether, meaning all possible future choices are available. By way of example, I played on Games mode and got to a point where I couldn’t wash the dishes despite how much I wanted to. Story mode presumably lets you do that.

Once you start you can't back out of your experience. You have to see it through, at which time you can play again and change mode. Which, when you consider the topic, makes sense.

The game uses a top down third person perspective. Reflecting the black dog within you, you are an inky lego-like being, with brilliant white eyes. You shuffle around your home, from bedroom to living room, to the kitchen and the bathroom, and perhaps out the front door. A suitably melancholic soundtrack follows along. Work involves a choice each day, and a fidgety visit to your desk. Then it's home, and how to spend your evening. You play predominantly with the keyboard and it saves when you exit.

Please Knock On My Door may not be for everyone, and given the subject matter may not be for some people in particular. It is though a remarkable piece, and deserves your attention.

I played on:

OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit

Processor: Intel i7-6700 4GHz


Video card: AMD Radeon RX 580 8192MB


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