There is such a huge variety of titles among the annual NaNoRenO submissions, that you never truly know what is going to pique your interest. I’m just blindly picking games at random, giving priority to games that I find aesthetically pleasing—it’s shallow, I know, but when there are over 100 games to get through can you blame me for picking game with pretty art first?
So, this is how I found myself playing Pilot_Star’s kinetic novel, #influenced, which I suppose is fitting given it’s focus on the superficial world of internet influencers. With it’s chic character designs and bright coloring, #infuenced is definitely one of the better looking titles in this year’s lineup—but beneath it’s cute appearance is slow burn horror story that doubles as a surprisingly clever social commentary.
The game follows Dolly Pearson, an up-and-coming influencer on the social media site Instapix. But, despite visiting all the cutest cafes and taking flawless selfies, she’s frustrated with her meager 5K follower count. Everything changes when she befriends Instapix star Vanessa, who has just made the move from New York to her town. Seeing this as her chance to make it big, Dolly asks her for a few tips and Vanessa is happy to lend her new bestie a helping hand… just so long as Dolly is willing to do whatever it takes…
While I don’t plan on spoiling the game, I feel obligated to note that, #influenced warrants a trigger warning for graphic descriptions of self-harm and suicide.