Empty is a new indie game where the player must de-clutter a room by altering the camera’s perspective. If you hate when your belongings randomly disappear just because you were looking at it funny, then maybe you shouldn’t read on.
Hoarding and video games go hand in hand. I live each day with the fear that I may be crushed when my loft collapses from the weight of stored away collectors editions Xbox360 games. And just last week I caressed Death’s bony cheek when I slipped on a Rock Band drum support pole. It’s safe to say I’m a gaming hoarder. If I was a RPG character my hoarding attribute would be set to 10+. And I need to change.
I decided to look into how a minimalist lives and the name that kept cropping up was Marie Kondo. Marie’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying” is a worldwide best-seller that’s been helping people clear their minds and de-clutter their lives. Marie recently made an appearance on Ellen and it’s an odd watch (can’t embed thanks to copyright but it’s worth a click, mate). It’ made even more bizarre by actress Ellie Kemper having her mind blown at least three times in a two minute period.
Did you see the way Marie stores her socks? I’ve been balling my socks since I was child. Every single human person I know also balls their socks. No-one will ever make me change the way I ball my socks. I was de-railed by this. I didn’t want a lifestyle change to affect how I stored my socks. I couldn’t handle it.
So as I sat in my pile of crap it was a relief to stumble upon Empty. Empty has been developed by DustyRoom and is avaliable on Itch.io. The player is presented with a pastel coloured room with a few objects placed around. The goal is to remove all the objects in the room. The player does this by re-positioning the camera so that when an object overlaps with a wall of the same colour the object disappears.
Just like Vignettes that I reviewed last month, Empty requires the player to think outside the box. Each room escalates the challenge and DustyRoom cleverly introduces new mechanics gently ensuring a smooth learning curve. The player also cannot simply rotate a room until a solution is found. This is because often the objects in the room have to be removed in a particular order. If the player doesn’t solve this correctly they may end up with a sofa that simply can’t be removed.
Empty is a satisfying game to play. Watching a cluttered room become empty ticks that minimalist checkbox in my brain. Maybe that’s why I also had so much fun playing …deep-breath… Packing Up the Rest of Your Stuff on the Last Day at Your Old Apartment with Marc and Oli last month.
Video-games can make me feel like a space marine, a east-coast gangster, or a genocidal plumber. Now they can even make me feel like a minimalist. It’ll never get the nod of approval from Marie Kondo and, sure, my Resident Evil 4 Chainsaw controller is still slowing testing the strength of my loft beams. But I feel satisfied that I’ve de-cluttered life and and that a simple game like Empty had made me feel whole.
Checkout Empty here on Itch.io.