Between Me and The Night paired with Forbidden Wheat

Between Me and The Night is a surreal puzzler. Players are given little to no story and instead explore their home and try to make sense of this bizarre world. Mundane objects and objectives quickly become more than meets the eye. This disturbance in reality seemed to go well with a beer that takes its own twist: Brickstone Brewery’s Forbidden Wheat.

There’s an eerie tone throughout as Between Me and the Night feels like you’re trapped somewhere between a memory and a haunting. And it’s what I appreciate most about the game. Unfortunately, for everything it offers it falls short on some very key points.

Between Me and The Night is a brilliant idea that falls victim to a shoddy plotline and poor execution. Like many games, Between Me and The Night makes the mistake of confusing “encouraging exploration” with “give the player nothing.” Struggling is expected with any puzzle game but, with the developer keeping me completely in the dark, I felt like all of it was pointless. Why am I playing this? What exactly is happening? And—more importantly—why should I care? Mystery is not the absence of plot. To the games credit, there’s some text that enriches the story on an emotional level:

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But none of this is enough to firmly stand on.

Honestly, I’m a gamer that can look past story flubs if the game play and art is good enough. And while the art here is wonderfully done, the technical failures of this game ruin the experience for me. Here’s a world that’s completely enchanting: other dimensions, scary creatures that may or may not be “real,” we even get sucked into a video game (talk about meta):

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But all of it gets undone by the finicky mechanics; WASD, E, and a left/right click never felt so uncomfortable. The easiest actions, such as using a chair to climb on to a table, become a chore in Between Me and The Night. And while I understand why I’d have to be close to an object to add it to my inventory, I don’t understand why I have to be close to it identify what it is. This design choice turned me off to exploration—the exact opposite of what this game needs to do. Frankly, I think Between Me and The Night would’ve done much better as a point and click.

Another gripe I have is you can add so many items to your inventory but your actual inventory can only hold 5 objects. This leads to a lot of carrying, dropping, and back tracking. And with multiple floors and a slow walking character, this becomes tiring. Once you pick up an object there’s also no way to put it back exactly where it was so you end up just dropping it on the floor. This can lead to issues if you misplace items or accidentally drop them in an inaccessible area.

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This—and other glitches—are especially problematic since restarting the game causes you to lose all progress in said “chapter.” Which would be okay if the chapters were actually defined to the player

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As far as the beer: Forbidden Wheat is a Witbier and while its orange tones are noticeable and welcomed, it fails to stand out from the crowd. A solid beer but nothing I’d recommend. Brickstone Brewery describes their Forbidden Wheat beer as a “Blood Orange Wit brewed with blood orange peel, bitter orange peel, sweet orange peel, and just a touch of coriander.” RainDance LX describes Between Me and The Night as “a surrealist action adventure game.” In the end, both were better on paper than in practice. And at 5.4% ABV, I’m going to need something stronger to get through the rest of this game.

~Janet

Fragments Of Him paired with Great White Beer
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To call Fragments of Him a game is a stretch even David Cage would laugh at. Fragments of Him is like if someone played Heavy Rain and complained there was too much gameplay. Fragments of Him can be boiled down to click and watch cutscene. It’s like watching a film, but pressing the pause button every ten seconds. Ultimately, despite it’s occasionally tender moments and excellent soundtrack, I was unable to finish it out of sheer boredom. Sadly, the beer choice was also quite bland.
Fragments of Him focuses on a young man named Will. Will is a young man contemplating marrying his partner Harry. As he resolves to change his life and propose, he gets in a major car accident. The rest of the game focuses on the various people who affected Will across the years. The game switches between Will’s memories, the grandmother who helped raise him, his college girlfriend, and his lover. You play as an unseen ghost who clicks on objects which continue the plot. Honestly it feels like reading a book, but instead of turning the page you’re searching for the object in yellow to click on.
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Fragments of Him should not be categorized as a game. You literally don’t do anything. You slowly move through the room looking for objects in blue or yellow. You then click on those objects and watch a short scene unfold and listen to dialogue. There’s no puzzles, no challenges, not really anything. This is the kind of “game” that lives or dies by its story. At moments, Fragments Of Him is compelling and tender. Listening to Will express his need to change his life, or his grandmother’s confusion at Will’s life choices, are interesting. But on the whole, Fragments of Him becomes very dull. I found myself watching the Netflix show in the background more than the game I was playing. This wasn’t any real fault of Fragments of Him, more that it’s pandering to the wrong audience. This kind of heartfelt story would be better as a short film or digital short, not a “game.” The term “game” implies that you’re competing or engaging in some activity. But in Fragments of Him, you’re a pure observer. Honestly, it starts to feel a little like voyeurism the longer you play.
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The graphics can also feel a little off-putting. Everything’s various shades of grey or white. Also, the people have no eyes. It’s weird, the characters look completely normal except there’s craters where the eyes should be. The soundtrack is good, the soft piano adds a lot of emotion to ordinary scenes.
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Sadly, like Fragments of Him, Great White Beer is bland. The bottle itself describes very little description besides calling it a “white beer.” Unfortunately, that about sums it up. It tastes white; like white rice or white bread. It’s nutritious and filling, but dull and bland. For the first time since I’ve begun writing these pairings, I can’t recommend either the beer or the game. Fragments of Him is not nearly worth it’s ten dollar price tag. It’s guaranteed to have no replay value and it’s story is not more compelling than things you can stream on Netflix or Hulu. It has no real gameplay and an strange art style. Great White Beer tastes bland and sour and is also not worth it’s four dollar price tag. Hard pass on both.
~Ryan

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