Titles like They Breath are the types of games that Steam’s refund system was made for. It is a pointless barely interactive and directionless “experimental” title that’s only claim to decency is to be vaguely artistic in order to impress people who do not even enjoy games in the first place, or at least that’s the only way I can see games like They Breathe existing. Furthermore the game is over in about half an hour so one would be under the 3 hour limit even if they beat it 3 times.
It is not that They Breathe could not have been a good game; it is more so that They Breathe chooses not to be a good game. It does nothing other than build a light bit of suspense up at to what the point of the game could be, only to reveal that there is no point or twist at the end to begin with. That is not even taking into account that the half hour leading up to that has boring and frustrating gameplay as well.
Before I take a dive into what makes this game bad, no pun intended, I will touch on the few positives I can net it. Those positives are that the art style is decent, the music is decent, and the sound design and controls are serviceable; that’s it. You know a game is bad when I need to scrounge for positives on this level. Of course it is not saying much because They Breathe is a bad game by choice, not due to a lack of competence.
They Breathe has you playing as a frog that is swimming down towards the bottom of a body of water. As you swim down, you need to avoid these weird jellyfish moose hybrid enemies that are trying to kill you and collect air bubbles to breathe. You swim down towards the bottom until you have a giant blob thing that is spawning these weird looking enemies, and you swim around and avoid being captured until it explodes and you swim back up to the surface. That is all there is to the game plot wise.
When a game is building up to something showing up at the bottom of the lake, or of something horrifying, there should usually be something down there for the player to react to. They Breathe, however, is just meaningless suspense to the point where most won’t even notice that they were supposed to be feeling it. They Breathe is a game where nothing happens and you are expected to be entertained.
As for the gameplay, you are always in a fixed location on one screen and there is no sense of progression or accomplishment as you move forward with the game. There is however, a feeling of boredom and frustration every time you die and have to start a segment over when you are just waiting for the game to get to its nonexistent point and don’t feel like dealing with the bullcrap. The gameplay is very shallow, still no pun intended, and it lacks anything to engage the player and make them want to keep playing.
They Breathe is not worth a purchase even if it was on sale for less than half of its $2.00 price tag. Nothing deserves to go to this shallow cash in, pun definitely intended.
This review was originally posted to GameFAQs on March 31st of 2016 and has been updated for posting on this blog as a placeholder for my current review schedule. You can read my newer reviews one week before they are posted on Guardian Acorn if you pledge $1.00 or more to my Patreon account. New reviews are are posted every Monday. You can also follow this blog if you would like to be kept up to date on my stuff, or you could follow me on any of my social media pages (listed at the bottom of the page) and could stop by The Guardian Acorn Discord chat if you would like to talk to me and my homies.