When I first saw Her Story I didn’t have high hopes. It looked and sounded pretentious — it was categorized an “interactive movie,” after all — and I worried that the main actor featured in the full motion video (FMV) centric game would be an amateur, making so much unabated screen time with her unpleasant.
But after bowing to the hype and playing the mobile version, I found myself concurring with its lengthy list of glowing reviewers: Her Story is an innovative masterpiece.
Her Story opens on an old school 90s era computer screen, complete with reflections of a flickering fluorescent light and, every once in a while, your character’s own reflection. The police insignia on the computer wallpaper indicates the setting, and two readme files fill you in on your assigned task. You must sift through video clips of seven different interviews with the same woman, the wife of a murdered man who is suspected of committing the crime.
The clips are short, none spanning longer than a minute or so, and to bring them up you must enter search terms that would appear in her responses. As you delve deeper in to the library of videos, you discover more and more about this woman, her past, and the crime at hand.
It would seem a haphazard way to tell a detective story, and yet the format facilitated at least two or three major twists during gameplay that I don’t think would have surprised me as much in any other medium.
What’s more, the acting is brilliant. While abstaining from spoilers, the feat that this actor achieves is impressive, and there’s not a single clip that doesn’t entrance you with her embodiment of the difficult role.
Elsewhere on the computer screen, there’s a database program that shows you how much you’ve accessed of the video library, a mirror tiles game and a clock.
After you’ve reached a certain point, an old-school instant messaging platform will pop-up and prompt you to decide whether you believe you’ve cracked the case.
All in all, the game took me about four hours of gameplay. Unfortunately for Android users, it’s only available on iOS — in mobile format, at least. There may be hope, though. Creator Sam Barlow, also known as the writer and designer of the two British Silent Hill games, has said in the past he’s considering bringing Her Story to Android.