The Plan

The Plan Microreview

What if you could have the ideal Kafkaesque experience, without losing your humanity? What if YOU, instead of Gregor Samsa, “awake one morning from uneasy dreams and find yourself transformed in your bed into a gigantic insect”? “The Plan” is a nifty 15-minute experience that gives you exactly this literary, yet visceral, opportunity.

In “The Plan”, you’re not exactly a gigantic insect, but you are a fly blessed, unlike other random flies, with significance. On your shoulders sit, apparently, both the unbearable lightness of being and a platformer game camera that has sworn to dutifully follow you around. Just like Kafka’s “Metamorphosis”, “The Plan” is more or less about humanity. It’s about finding sense and purpose in an otherwise monotonous existence. I would say it’s a desperate effort at displaying human emotion in an ugly, hairy, six-legged shell. Because, if there’s a purpose, or Plan (the capital P is always intentional), for even the most hated and eaten of insects, then the human being is truly saved from nothingness.

“The Plan” is also about shaking off the uneasiness of reality and about slowly learning to escape into the blue existential discourse of the insect micro-universe. You’ll gradually forget your annoying buzzing flight as you progress throughout the game and not because you’re getting used to it, but because it fades off to allow classical music to make itself noted. The camera also slowly distances itself from your fly body, to show more of the encircling delicate leaves and to let you guess the true nature of the blurry shapes all around you.

All in all, the game masterfully builds towards the climax, the true Outcome of your Plan, which is so deliciously surprising that it has, at least for me, turned a pleasant several minute experience into something I’ll truly remember. “The Plan” plays with images just as “The Life of Pi” (movie and book) plays with words, leaving the whole meaning of the narrative to be turned around by the ending. And while gameplay is almost nonexistent and the control scheme doesn’t really encourage that sense of immersion described above, in the end those 15 minutes of gameplay really pay off.

Ana Todor is a Computer Scientist with a playful and literary twist. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Cultural Studies. She is currently studying towards obtaining a Master of Science degree in Computer Science, Digital Interactive Entertainment. Areas of specialty: programming, web design and development, video game development, literary criticism, and creative writing. Notable hobbies: photography.

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