Coming from the developers of Sara Is Missing, in 2017 we got another game of the same genre - SIMULACRA. The game, as before, features the player fumbling around with someone's lost phone and try to figure out their secrets and problems, while also trying to find out /finding out what happened to the owner.
From the very first minutes, the game sets the atmosphere: the first screamer appears, the sounds and the layout and how the phone works are very realistic and lifelike. It is almost like using a real phone, and while it might seem like that to a regular person watching you play, it is not. Everything about SIMULACRA is similar to Sara Is Missing, but compared to the SIM game, it has 4 endings and a well-developed plot. Each ending brings a thud of emotions, thinking about what you could have done differently while also wondering what you would do if this happened in real life.
SIMULACRA continues the idea of SIM and takes it to a new level, there are much more features and the amount of apps that are added throughout is even greater. The mobile version is even more atmospheric than the PC one, as, obviously, the action is happening on a phone, which is why the game feels a lot more natural and smooth to play on one.
At points, the game really is terrifying, and at first even the sounds scare and frighten you. Vlogs, which can be found by decrypting codes, help by adding variety into the process of clicking and swiping, although they don’t carry much meaning or help you in any way.
They're just a continuation of the story, a part of the immersion.
The game features you using various social and messaging apps, reading emails, finding secret codes, writing and reading messages, watching videos and listening to voice messages - everything you would do on a day-to-day basis on your own phone. The story is cleverly implemented and increasingly revealed as you advance, with new characters, apps and hints appearing on the way.
The story is very entertaining and realistic, although not very long, it still keeps you on the edge of your seat for every single ending.
Graphics and visuals are, well, what you would expect to see on a phone, however the slightly changing details, like more spooky wallpapers and randomly changing text messages really add to the atmosphere, along with the audio and unexpected creepy sounds, of course.
There are also quite a few secrets and easter eggs left by the developers for you to find.
The only bad thing I could say about SIMULACRA is the fact that there is always just one way to advance - and until you find what that message or hint is or where it's hiding, you won't be able to do anything.
The puzzles, actors, voice acting and the developers really did a great job with making the plot, story and all the twists, I would dare to say they are an improvement over the first part of the franchise - SIM. There is also now a third part of these phone simulation games - SIMULACRA: Pipe Dreams, and while they are all good and fun, I chose to review SIMULACRA, because for me it was the best of all worlds, including story, gameplay and endings.
Verdict: I can't help but recommend it, especially for the mere price of 2.49$ it currently costs for a copy. Everything about it is great, and if you have some time to spare and want to get spooked, even if not for long, this game is for you, if you have a phone or computer, obviously.