Essays on Empathy
Top Critic Average
Essays on Empathy is a collection of games meant to get players thinking and most of them do this exceptionally well, while others are a bit flat.
This is precisely the kind of small, warm story that is fundamentally impossible in our bombastic, capitalist conception of the games industry. If all we celebrate are the big games, the ones that leave us feeling like we got our money’s worth, the ones which have us posting screenshots on Twitter and the ones which blow up on Twitch – if this is the zeitgeist of our medium’s discourse, then what place could there be for the ordinary, the mediocre, the quintessentially human? I don’t know if Essays on Empathy will find an audience. If anything, it incorporates numerous design decisions which seem to impede its ability to find an audience. But it is a game which I, personally, am thankful for, and will be for a long time to come.
Overall, Essays on Empathy is an intriguing collection. It’s a shame that a few finishing touches weren’t applied to give the overall package the polish it deserves, but there’s no denying that the concepts created by Deconstructeam are seriously impressive. You likely won’t find a collection of games as eclectic as this anywhere else.
Essays on Empathy is a fairly niche product – the projects here are more intriguing than entertaining, and the relative lack of interactivity will be a red line for many people. On the other hand, for those with a strong interest in narrative design and on the joys and pitfalls of indie development, this collection is a rare and valuable insight into a team who are undoubtedly forging their own unique and admirable path.
Essays on Empathy is a glance at Deconstructeam’s history. The games are clever and enjoyable, showing the team’s auteur tone as they explore different gameplay styles. People fond of unique, experimental games are likely to enjoy this collection, though some would have benefitted from developing their concepts further.
Throughout the ten Essays on Empathy games, the developer's competence in building captivating and delicate stories, always with striking soundtracks and charming visuals, is proven.
Review in Portuguese | Read full review
Essays on Empathy is an impressive work which shows a deep story about life through short and creative gameplay. However, it was not satisfying enough because its convenience on UI is not good, and some stories are monotonous.
Review in Korean | Read full review
I’ve always said that the best and most interesting games are being made at the experimental level in game jams and Essays on Empathy proves that.
At an absolute bare minimum, Essays on Empathy is a fantastic project. Very few games have really given this level of insight into the world of the developer. Truly, this is one of the most impactful games I have played in years. Some of these titles touch on private pains and give a sense of clarity and non-judgemental exploration. I am honestly so appreciative.
Essays on Empathy feels like a collection of elevator pitches, of small technical showcases of what Deconstructeam will develop from now on. Some of the games in the collection are too vague and occasionally way too pretentious to be fully enjoyed, but other titles in here, while short, ooze potential.