Last time I pick up a random phone.
Available on: Steam/Mobile
Genre: Horror FMV
Publisher: Kaigan Games OÜ, Another Indie
One day, you find a phone just sitting on your doorstep. Like anybody else, you decide to snoop through the phone either to figure out who the owner is so you can return it or just because you can. However, this turns into a much more complicated situation. The first tip off is that while you are blocked by a lock screen, the phone glitches so you can get into it. I don’t know about anybody else, but I wouldn’t have looked through it after that. Anyway, you soon find out that the phone’s owner is Anna and she has recently gone missing. Thus, you decide to look through her phone activity and talk to her friends and acquaintances in an attempt to find her before it’s too late.
There are some puzzles here with the most frequent puzzle you’ll come across involves unscrambling text messages and photos. For texts, you’ll have to order the words in the right order. Photos are more complicated as you’re given several fragments to piece together, but you can’t have any part that is glitched. So you’ll have to figure out which order will allow all glitched out parts to be replaced with the picture. The other puzzle you’ll come across involve you gathering information through either the sites Anna frequented or through her friends. The only problem I had was that some messages had more than one way that it could make sense and that there is an instance where you’re expected to remember certain facts since you can’t go and look for the information.
The acting is average, with Anna’s actress being the stand out, with hilariously bad parts (aka all of Greg’s voice lines) sprinkled in. Voice acting mainly comes through Anna’s vlogs, audio text messages, and phone calls. What doesn’t exactly make sense are the phone calls. At certain points in the story, you’ll get a phone call from one of the characters and you’ll have to answer it (or they’ll keep calling/story won’t continue). Of course, you can’t answer back and when that character asks why you don’t talk back, the excuse is that you can’t make out what they’re saying (despite you being able to hear them fine). I’d rather have the excuse either be that you guess the mic got broken before you found it (which can also imply that whatever is making the phone glitch is causing the mic to stop working) or it auto sends them to voicemail. It doesn’t make sense even more when a police officer actually calls you but assume he’s leaving a voicemail despite not hearing “leave a message after the beep”.
Simulacra has four endings each with their own requirements. While you can’t jump to a specific section of the game, you’ll be able to speed things up on your next playthroughs through Begin+. It won’t take long to build up the requirements you need, but the last sequence plays at the same speed.
While Simulacra isn’t perfect, it’s still worth it to experience it yourself, whether it be on PC or on your phone to get the maximum immersion you can. I did find the phone aspect convincing for the most part, didn’t mind that glitches were used to freak you out (though others might not like it), and liked how they filled in the empty space with a room with ambient noises chiming in. There are even some subtle moments here, like the phone’s background changing. The only thing that really messes with immersion is some of the voice acting.