Top Critic Average
I’m really impressed by Sagebrush. It could have been tacky, it definitely could have been gross, but it’s neither. It’s sensitive, well constructed, and harrowing just where I think it should be.
Sagebrush pulls you into the life of a cult by forcing you to follow the story of someone who survived one. Perfect Heaven – and its impact on its members – feels organic and like cults that have lived in times before it. Its pixelated animation style gives you the feeling that you're exploring the ruins of someone's memory and the tragedy that followed.
The human experience of being drawn into a cult full of deep, dark secrets and the emotional toll it weighs upon you is front and centre in Sagebrush and that’s what made this two-hour experience stand out to me. The slow pace is entirely purposeful, allowing you to soak up each moment and learn more about those who believed in Father James room to be understood, to be heard and ultimately, to be mourned.
Strictly as an adventure-type videogame, Sagebrush is as simplistic one can get. As an experience, though, it's an unforgettable journey to the bizarre world of religious fanaticism, and, more specifically, suicide cults; one with an incredibly immersive, hair-raising atmosphere, in great part courtesy of its incredibly fitting, 32-bit era visuals, and minimalist approach to sound. If a fan of short, narrative-driven, psychological thrillers, this is a must-buy.
Sagebrush delivers on an interesting plot that draws you into the game. However, the gameplay is not quite enough to carry the rest of the game. It's short length and limited gameplay options cut a bit into what was an overall positive experience. I just wish that there was a bit more to experience.
Sagebrush aims to look at the humanity behind the subject matter, and while it doesn’t always work as well as it could, it does reach dark and revelatory heights from an unexpected angle. Its slow pace should be its greatest strength, but there needed to be a touch more environmental storytelling to make the most of the wandering you do.
Sagebrush's story isn't one that will leave a lasting impression and the pacing can feel off, but it is succinct, suspenseful, and on sale for less than a fiver, making it well worth your time if 90s cult thrillers are your jam.
I really wanted to come away from Sagebrush having found a new little gem in the indie game scene. Instead I found a very short, predictable story, that I barely engaged with.