One of the best places at E3 is the IndieCade. Of course, as TheGamer's E3 representative, I made all the appointments I could for the highly anticipated games. I managed to get some time with Ghost Recon Breakpoint thanks to the wonderful people at Ubisoft. I also saw the ambitious storytelling Techland has in store for Dying Light 2. But when I grew tired of waiting in line for Nintendo demos (turns out they don't let just anyone into their press area) or running from one side of the convention center to the other, I popped by the IndieCade.
There I discovered the joys of Speaking Simulator, a game that challenged me to keep all my teeth in my mouth.
Imagine if you were born yesterday and were instantly expected to move your mouth in all the subtle ways the English language demands. That's exactly what you, a robot haphazardly tasked with infiltrating human society to destroy it from within, must do. The result is a lot of weird sounds and twisted facial expressions.
This happens because you, the player, are in charge of all the mouth and tongue movements. You have to form sentences syllable by syllable at a decently fast pace, lest the meatbags become suspicious of your true nature.
Precision also becomes key, as messing up can overload your computer, causing your face to spark or even explode. You can also knock your own teeth out with overexcited tongue movements. That seemed to happen to pretty much everyone I watched demo the game. When I asked one of the game's creators if it was possible to keep your teeth, he said it was, but only if you were really good.
I knew what I had to do.
I passed the first level easily enough, a date with Karen from HR. I lost some teeth getting used to the controls' sensitivity, but resolved to take on my second mission, a job interview, with more skill. I even bought upgrades as suggested by the creator - the ability to smile and move my eyebrows for emphasis. These would serve to double the fun... and the chaos.
Speaking Simulator doesn't just challenge you with mouth movements. It distracts you with a hilarious script that pokes fun at how self-involved humans can be. The people I talked to should have seen my robot face sparking, but they were too into themselves. Meanwhile, the upgrades complicated my mission as much as they helped it. Being able to smile helped me look more sympathetic to my boss, but it also gave me another command to constantly tend to. I made it through most of the job interview with teeth intact only to knock out two at the last sentence.
Speaking Simulator is coming to Steam this year, so you can see if you're better than me at keeping your teeth. Later levels will include dancing, politics, and delivering a eulogy.
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