Review – Please, Don’t Touch Anything

Please, Don't Touch Anything: the console
Review – Please, Don’t Touch Anything

Platforms: Windows PC, Steam, Desura

Game Name: Please, Don't Touch Anything

Publisher: Bulky Pix, Plug In Digital

Developer: Four Quarters

Genre: Puzzle

Release Date: March 26th, 2015

Please, Don’t Touch Anything – What We Think

Developed during one of the Ludum Dare game competitions, Please, Don’t Touch Anything garnered early comparisons to Papers, Please due to its pixel art evocations of Cold War paranoia. But where Papers, Please explored impenetrable bureaucracy and government paranoia, Please, Don’t Touch Anything is almost pure logic puzzle.

No, seriously, don’t touch anything

The framing device, and the game’s sole bit of actual narrative, is just a little dialogue setting up the situation; your co-worker, who mans a console with a single, ominous-looking red button, needs you to watch his work station for a few minutes while he uses the restroom. “Don’t touch anything,” he warns. But that big red button is pretty tempting…

Please, Don't Touch Anything: opening dialogue
Please, Don’t Touch Anything: screenshot courtesy of Steam

Fine, go ahead and just touch everything

From there, the game turns into a fairly abstract logic puzzle. You can press the button, of course. Doing so will reveal a switch. Additional button-presses will open up other parts of the panel, giving you additional buttons and switches to manipulate. Results may vary; certain combinations of numbered or colored buttons may lead to possible game endings, which range from more or less nothing happening all the way to apparent nuclear apocalypse. Each ending unlocked activates a different light at the base of your console; there are apparently 16 in all.

The game offers very little story and very little guidance; there is, however, a note taped next to your console with some instructions for the console operator. This may provide some clues, but it’s cryptic stuff, reminiscent not so much of your average puzzle game than the sort of logic conundrums used in MENSA tests.

Please, Don't Touch Anything: the console
Please Don’t Touch Anything: screenshot courtesy of Steam

Well, you probably shouldn’t have touched that

Please, Don’t Touch Anything is bound to appeal to certain kinds of minds – people that can’t let a puzzle go, that look at things from different angles and are willing to spend lots of time on trial and error to work out which patterns and actions are meaningless and which ones actually lead to new results. Most people, however, would probably just be content to Google up a walkthrough, or simply give up entirely.

The game’s central conceit, that a clueless prole filling in for someone’s bathroom break could accidentally blow up the planet (or at least most of it), is clever, and the ominous electronic soundtrack certainly helps to add some atmosphere, but the game never really goes out of its way to explore that further. Devoted logic puzzle fanatics will probably enjoy the way it’s set up, but the lack of meaningful progress or reward might leave a lot of players feeling cold.

Get Please, Don’t Touch Anything on Steam

Get Please, Don’t Touch Anything on Desura

[xrr rating=”2.5/5″]

Watch the trailer for Please, Don’t Touch Anything below: