Last year, I had the pleasure of reviewing Say No! More, a quirky little game revolving around saying no to everyone. It felt like an on-rails beat ’em up with a singular attack. It was shallow, sure, but the quirkiness alone made it stand out from many other games I had played that year.
Soon after, a game released called Negative Nancy, and I had disregarded it as simply jumping on the ‘no’ train and providing what I expected to be a similar experience.
Now I’ve had the chance to finally play it, I’m pleased to say that these two are very different games and worth experiencing in their own right.
Ready to say ‘no’ once more?
Many thanks to FEED for the review code.
If you’ve ever worked in retail then you’ll know about the burning desire to say ‘no’ to some of the idiot customers that come in. From manager-seeking Karens to people looking to blag freebies, there’s no shortage of irritating clientele.
For our heroine, Nancy, this is a reality in her day to day life as a worker in the Mega Mart. Her boss is full of corporate bullshit and false promises, spouting phrases like ‘minimum wage, maximum fun’ to try and keep people motivated. Needless to say, her incessant negativity isn’t much appreciated in the workplace but feels very refreshing to the player.
Rather than having one long story, the game takes place over four mini stories – with each one taking the form of a VHS tape to place in the television in the main menu. It’s a nice format, but the lack of connectivity between stories and their short length can make the whole experience seem a little underwhelming without any sort of overarching narrative.
NO WAY, NANCY
What sets Negative Nancy apart from Say No! More is that the game is a visual novel rather than an action title. Taking place predominantly in the Mega Mart (although there are various other locations too), you’ll be having conversations and experiencing events that you are then required to respond to. Pressing the B button will have Nancy say one of her few preset ‘No’ voicelines, whereas hitting the A button (or simply running out of time) will result in a non-answer. Non-answers can work as a ‘yes’ in some situations, but not always.
You’ll need to think about each situation carefully and decide on what you want your answer to be. The game has a multitude of possible story paths, some of which make things play out a lot longer – whereas other routes may end up leading to your own death. Different paths will unlock ‘mementos’ after beating that chapter, which are essentially just items that appear in your little main menu hub area to remind you of what you’ve done. It’s a nice little system that encourages you to go back and find all the different storylines, although the final chapter unfortunately doesn’t contain any for whatever reason.
The main thing that will get you replaying is the genuine humour that the game has to offer. It’s a bit crude in places, it’s a bit silly in others; overall it felt akin to something from South Park and it completely hits the mark in creating some horrible obnoxious characters. I just wish there was more of the game to enjoy: what is there is excellent, but it’s over far too quickly and relies on you wanting to replay for those extra storylines and mementoes. A couple of extra stories and situations would have worked wonders, since you end up leaving Nancy just as you start to get to know her.
Aesthetically the game does a fine job at creating a simple cartoonish art style that fits the writing well, although I found that the faces seemed a little bit off to me – the lack of apparent mouths was something I never really got used to. Not exactly a deal breaker, but just something I didn’t care much for.
Negative Nancy does a good job at providing a humorous visual novel with some rather simple and rewarding mechanics. The branching storylines work really well, although it’s a shame there aren’t more stories on offer as your time with Nancy ends before it really starts to begin.