Have you ever imagined how lonely an existence it would be if you didn’t know who you were? If you could never recall the things you had done as you were never truly in control of your actions. You wake one day and you are greeted by a doctor. This person tells you, you have committed some heinous crimes, but in your mind, this could not be possible. At this point you are told that you have dissociative identity disorder, you no longer know what is real, and what is not. Is the person who is now talking the real personality, or are you just a fragment of their broken brain? This is the conundrum that faces our suffering female protagonist, Lilly Witchgan. Her softly spoken persona is 1 of 10 inside her head, and any of the others have been capable of murder, arson, and many other unspeakable crimes.
Reflection of Mine is a dark and twisted tale that asks you to take a trip inside the broken landscape of Lilly’s mind. This creepy game has been developed by RedBlack Spade and published by Ratalaika Games. Its core concept reminded me of the characters from the film Split, a horror/thriller that explores split personalities, and how the stronger fragments control the actions of the others.
This psychological horror title uses the puzzle genre to push its concept. You must control Lilly, and one of her many personalities through maze-like arenas that represent the broken portions of her memories. Each stage is punctuated with elements of her diary, and as you explore deeper into her psyche, you will discover the dark plot that is unfolding. You must piece together the clues which help you understand who the true Lilly Witchgan is, and what makes her tick. The action spans 55 unique puzzles, across 4 chapters, and has 10 stages reserved for a special arcade mode. You are given the option for 3 different difficulties, where the tougher you go, the more this twisted story will drive you insane. For this review, I played the medium difficulty which allowed me the use of hints, and the amount of moves I used didn’t impact my progress. In short, I didn’t have to be perfect in my approach to enjoy the game.
So, what do you actually have to do? You must move both characters from point A to point B, each image of the stage is similar, but with a few minor differences. Moving Lilly up one space will move the other character up one space as well. If an obstacle is in Lilly’s way, but not the other personalities, Lilly won’t move, but the other one will. You must use obstacles to navigate the stage while avoiding traps and spikes. There is no time limit applied, so success is down to a methodical approach, and perfect planning. You must carefully observe both screens, and attempt not to make any mistakes. If you make an error, there are save points which can be used. If you have done this, then the action will restart from here. If you have failed to save your progress, then death means beginning the stage again.
Hints can be used throughout any level, as long as you have earned them. They are rewarded as part of an arcade stage, which involves you moving north to south on an auto-scrolling level. You must collect masks and power-ups to venture through these random encounters, avoiding the traps, and collecting as many hint masks as you can find. These tips are extremely helpful, but will only help you progress to the next save point, so use them sparingly otherwise you may get stuck with no way to proceed.
For all the creepy nature surrounding this game, the main principle, and the core mechanics didn’t push this stance. Other than the well-written diary portions, and the abundance of skin tingling music, this was simply a puzzle title that asked you to manipulate your players to get to an end goal. Lilly’s mind is split into 10 different characters, each with their unique strengths and weaknesses, but this wasn’t portrayed through any of the gameplay. I would have liked to see unique traps or obstacles that had to be cleared using specific character-related perks. This being said, I enjoyed the puzzles, and they made me think, and I had to work hard to solve the latter stages.
What I appreciated with this title was the aesthetics. The sound and visual presentation personified the theme to a very high standard. Graphically, it uses a unique cartoon approach that has crisp lines and uses tone and shade to add to the mood. Using satanic symbols and archaic writing gives this a sense of the occult. I sat with my mouth wide open during the introduction to the game as I was taken back by its hard-hitting content. The artistic cutscenes left little to the imagination and chucks you straight in at the deep end.
The audio supported the imagery to a level that sent shivers down my spine. The sombre minor tones emphasised the state of despair, and though the gameplay itself didn’t push the theme, the music constantly reminded you of the underlying theme of this game.
In a title that has no time restriction, and no pressure to move around, the accuracy and ease of the control setup weren’t a priority. What I found was a simple and easy button mapping that responded accurately to your instructions. The lack of input lag helped the arcade mode, and this was the only section of the game that required any quick thinking or reaction to what was happening on the screen.
I’ve reviewed countless puzzle titles now, and I always have the same concerns with replay value. Once I’ve finished the game, what’s the point in returning? That can be said for this, but you have well over 10 hours of gameplay to work through, the different difficulties to try, a movement counter which highlights a perfect approach, and a reasonably challenging achievement list. Though the replay value is limited, there is enough to have you coming back for more. Also the 10 hours + gameplay was a pleasant surprise from an indie title.
I loved every minute of my skin tingling time with this. The puzzles were refreshingly difficult, but not to a point where I wanted to stop playing, and the plot was genuinely interesting. The only blot to what would be a near-perfect indie title was the lack of character integration into overcoming the puzzles. This extra layer would have added a fun and challenging element to the game, and would have tied up all the sections of the plot perfectly. Do I recommend that you play it? Absolutely! It’s great value for money, and will keep you playing for hours. Can you fix the broken puzzle that is Lilly’s mind, or will the puzzles break you? Jump into her landscape and find out who the real personality is.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Reflection of Mine Review
Gameplay - 8/10
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Replay Value - 5/10
User Review( votes)
A dark and sombre affair that will have you questioning what is real and what is not. Complete the puzzles, and uncover the secrets behind this dark plot.
- Stylistic and creepy art style.
- The audio is sombre, and matches the theme.
- The puzzles are challenging, and the hints are useful.
- Easy and responsive controls.
- 10+ hours of gameplay.
- The developers missed an opportunity to incorporate the individual personalities into the game mechanics.