Where many RPGs seem to punish exploration with random battles, Bret Sepulveda’s newest plays that off as a joke. After the brilliant second battle teaches you that all fights can be won with one attack, you’re free to discover the weird wonders Help Me, I’m Drowning has to offer. This allows the dialogue to shine, and for you to fall in love with the world faster than most in the genre ever even consider.
In less than 30 minutes, Help Me, I’m Drowning had me hooked on its characters and then miss them when they were gone. There’s a surprising amount poetry, jokes, and general good-writing to see in the game’s short run time. Anything that looks interesting can be interacted with for unique dialogue from our stars (one being an actual Star-person). Every tombstone or tree has something clever to say, until the last one inevitably acknowledges that “you’re probably tired of reading gravestones by now,” and the game moves on to something fresh.
The world is dark, the music gets way too optimistic, and the people are just a bit..off. You’ll haggle in a market full of lazy entrepreneurs, stare into a red sea, and then wander a black abyss in search of answers. You won’t find many, but you’ll be glad you took the trip.
If you’re ready to charmed by eyeball people and masses of skeletons, try out Help Me, I’m Drowning on Sepulbveda’s itch.io page for free.