Sometimes it’s hard to say “no.” People naturally want to please others or avoid conflicts. But it turns out saying “no” is exactly what you need to do sometimes. That’s the entire premise for Say No! More, a quirky NPG—that’s No!-Playing Game according to the developer—that feels like it came from the one of the stranger corners of itch.io.
Say No! More is a game that’s hard to put into a genre. It has few mechanics, and is a mostly on-rails, very casual experience. In it, you play as an intern in an office where the culture is that of saying “yes.” In fact, “no” is forbidden. But once your boss starts taking advantage of you, and steals a lunchbox that was made by a close friend, you have to put your foot down. With the help of a motivational audiotape, the intern finally gathers the ability to say “no”—and its surprisingly effective.
The few game mechanics that Say No! More has make the experience feel more like an interactive movie than a fully-fledged game. There are some choices you can make in regards to how you say no, with four different “no” styles: heated, wacky, lazy, and cold. There are also several different ways you can taunt your co-workers which enables you to charge your “no” to have a greater effect. Which “no” you employ, and how much you charge it rarely seems to matter. You can’t really fail encounters, nor do you have much choice in how they play out. Say No! More usually consists of story parts that then transition into on-rails gameplay, usually a rampage where your character has to face (and deny) several coworkers, culminating with a literal battle with the boss.
Say No! More doesn’t try to create revolutionary gameplay, but it does have an impeccable sense of humor–Say No! More is the funniest game I’ve played all year. It’s genuinely funny—and that’s something I rarely say about video games. The writing is witty and absurd. The entire game looks like it could be from the original PlayStation era, with intentionally stiff animations and rudimentary facial animations that adds to the absurdity. But as funny as it can be, Say No! More uses its focus on the power of “no” to convey a surprisingly positive message about empowerment, respecting others and respecting yourself.
I can’t help but feel like Say No! More is a bit of a missed opportunity, though. As much as I enjoyed it, it’s pretty short—only an hour and a half. And while the different ways to say “no” were amusing, they don’t serve a greater mechanical purpose. Interactions with coworkers could have been pass/fail based on ”no” intensity, or the type of “no” you use. Instead, your choices feel meaningless or like they only exist for comedic effect. Say No! More would have benefitted from being a little bit more like a game, but as it is, it’s mostly an interactive movie.
Despite how light it is on mechanics, Say No! More is a delightful and hilarious game. Its rejection of abusive office culture and message of self-empowerment is the wholesome lift I needed. I’ve never before played a game that was quite like Say No! More, but I’m glad I did.
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