I’ve come to accept that not every indie game is setting out to raise the narrative bar with their projects. Developers gotta eat too, so sometimes appealing to the lowest common denominator is unavoidable. Then something like The Youthdrainers comes along and I can’t help but think they have just given up altogether.
Evilized Production’s newest title is currently on Kickstarter, hoping to raise the paltry amount of $447. This doesn’t seem like much of an ask, but judging by the graphics it might have still been overly optimistic.
Let’s ignore that for now, though; a game doesn’t have to be graphically amazing to convey strong emotions. Setting and tone can make even a lackluster game into an interesting experience. Sadly, The Youthdrainers also fails in that regard.
In the game, pregnant women are held captive at an undisclosed facility in the middle of nowhere. This isn’t a thinking man’s horror title. We have a damsel protagonist, made more fragile due to her “condition.” It’s obvious that the player should want to save this character. The only way to make her any more sympathetic would be if she was carrying a wounded puppy.
The player learns they are being held prisoner by a race of “evil midget humanoids” hellbent on harvesting the unborn babies for nefarious experiments. What’s an expectant mother to do? Kill herself, apparently.
Object of the game:
Search the rooms for objects to leave the room and find a way to kill yourself before the midgets know you are up to something.
Wait, what? Oh, you thought a video game would task you with saving the protagonist from a horrible death? That isn’t edgy enough for Evilized Productions. No, the object of the game is to find a way to kill yourself before the E.M.H’s get the chance to take your baby. That is the entire condition for winning.
The Youthdrainers marketing all makes it perfectly clear that the whole game serves as a backdrop for this one “shocking” conclusion.
If you build your whole game around a shocking premise without putting any effort into maintaining the twist that makes it shocking, then (spoiler alert) your game isn’t shocking anymore. The Youthdrainers is at best an immature attempt at controversy that feels childish and clumsy. Not the most promising assessment, even for a low-quality horror title.