Little Misfortune



Genre:    Adventure 

Developer:   Killmonday Games AB

Publisher:    Killmonday Games AB

Released:   September 18, 2019 


Requirements (minimum):

  • OS: Windows 7 or higher 
  • Processor: Intel i5-6300U @ 2.5 GHz or better
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 or better
  • DirectX: Version 8.0
  • Storage: 7 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: Please be aware that this game is designed with 16:9 in mind




By Dan Peach


Little Misfortune

Killmonday Games AB

Little Misfortune is the second game from Swedish developers, Killmonday Games, and comes after their hugely popular and successful first game, Fran Bow, which I have not completed. But don't worry, because even though these games do take place within the same universe, they are separate games. However, if you have played Fran Bow, you might get a little extra kick out of it.

Where to begin with this game, then? I have mixed feelings about it to be honest. In fact, I don't really know how to feel about it. It is definitely a good game, and if you like weird and strange games that mess with your mind and emotions, then you're definitely going to like it. And I DO like it. I want to be clear about that.

So, we control Misfortune Ramirez Hernandez, an 8 year old girl, living in her little town, with her parents, her toys, and her glitter. One day, as she sits glittering things up, she starts to hear a voice inside her head. Mr. Voice, as she aptly names the owner, asks her if she wants to play a game. At the end of this game, is a prize. Eternal Happiness. Something which is sorely needed in the life of Misfortune. Not just for her, but for her mommy as well. And maybe her dad too, although maybe not. That is a complex situation, which you'll learn more about. Just be careful - if you have any experience of an unhappy childhood, then you might be overcome with a strong sense of familiarity, and it might not be easy for you. Anyway...

Misfortune of course accepts the challenge of the game, and so off we go out into the wilderness of the town surrounding our home, on a peculiar little adventure, looking for a fox, whom we've named Benjamin. Who is Benjamin? We don't know. He's a fox. We like him. He's pretty. And dashing. And… our friend? Not sure. Our mind is messed with. Gotta keep your wits about you. Gotta be aware.

As we go, we run into all kinds of different things and situations. We meet other animals. Some seem nice and wholesome. Others seem bad and degenerate. There's not much interaction, but that's ok. We have Mr. Voice in our head, guiding us, providing us with insight, leading us down the road to Eternal Happiness, whatever that is.

Misfortune has a LOT to say, and I mean a LOT. And this is great because she is obviously the best thing about the game. She is voiced by Killmonday's Natalia Martinsson (artist and co-writer/designer), who does an absolutely fantastic job. Seriously, this is some of the best voice work I've ever listened to in any game. It's up there. I cannot fault it in any way. It is perfect. Without this voice, the game would not even be half of what it is. It's vital! The only other prominent voice is that off Mr. Voice himself, and he is also top-notch. He sounds British. And very narratory. Like he's talking over a child's edutainment film. And it works very well. I can't praise this voice work enough.

I don't want to say too much else about the game, and its story, because I don't want to spoil even the tiniest thing. I think you just need to play it. It's the kind of game that is going to mean different things to different people. But what I can say is that there is a definite exploration of a troubled childhood. Misfortune is not happy. Her home life is not good. She's alone. She loses herself in her imagination. And she talks about it all with an innocence and a naivety that only a child could, and would, have. She doesn't really get it. She knows things are wrong. But she doesn't know why. And out in the wider world - the real world - where things are dark and scary - she talks about that in the same way. It's alien to her, but familiar too. She understands things but without the actual ability to understand or process them. So everything is all "Yay!" and "Sparkly!" and "Happy!" It is both adorable and sad at the same time. That's all I can really say about it. That's all I want to say about it. You have to get in there yourself and feel it. And feel you will. You might even… nope, that's all I can say.

Why do I have mixed feelings? Well, not for any really negative reason. As I say, I like this game a lot, but I can't help but wish that it had delved just a little deeper into the emotional turmoil of a child in trouble. A child lost in a world too big and real for them. Striving to find answers. Being conflicted. Trying to reason whether this thing they're doing is right, or wrong. Is it going to solve their problems, or make them worse? What IS happiness anyway? How can we even know, if we don't even feel like we've ever experienced it? We are presented with all manner of questions and thoughts like this - which is why I like it - but, I just have that little nagging sense that we could have gone just a bit deeper.

Gameplay wise, this is not your typical point-and-click adventure. We don't have an inventory, and there aren't any real puzzles to solve. What we do get are some little mini-game type things that we need to partake in, to help us on our way, and these are quite fun. The game actually bills itself as an "Interactive Story," and I think this description fits it perfectly. One prominent feature is that of making choices. And as we're told, there is no right or wrong, there are just consequences. And there ARE consequences. So try to think about things a little before you decide which way to go. You can always play through again and make different choices, which probably would be a good idea, just to absorb every single piece of the game, to get that full appreciation.

How does the game look and sound? Fantastic! The art is atmospheric - dark and cheery in all the right places. And there are some really cool animated cinematics which really bring things to life. The music is composed by Isak Martinsson, and it's very good. There are some full on stand out tracks for the animations and certain scenes, and some more quiet background tracks for the general gameplay. All in all, there's nothing to complain about in these regards.

Before you start playing, you can mess with some options. There are separate volume controls for speech, sound effects and music, a range of resolutions, and some other simple things, to allow you to get things just how you need them. You can replay the cinematic cutscenes from the main menu, which is always a nice feature. And finally, you can take another look through the collectible dolls that you find throughout the game, if you want to ponder on their philosophical meanings some more.

All in all, this is a great little game. It's kind of short at only 4 hours, but importantly, it doesn't feel too short, so you won't be left hanging. Killmonday continues to show they have a good grasp of narrative story telling within the gaming medium, and I look forward to anything and everything that they put out in the future.


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September 2019

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