When I first picked up DON’T GIVE UP, I was immediately thrust into a dark and disturbing scene. The hero of the game, Tris, returns home dejected after what is certainly the worst day of his life. Playing as Tris, you drink while reliving all of your failures. This struck a powerful chord with me, as I too have struggled with the demons of depression, anxiety, and mental illness. But in DON’T GIVE UP, those demons are your literal enemies.
Tris is a 20-something year old game developer who has a somewhat cynical outlook on life. The game takes place 4 years after his mental breakdown as Tris begins to rediscover himself and must once again thwart his internal enemies.
The combat system is a unique, turn-based style. During the enemy turn, he or she will attack you as their stamina bar slowly depletes. During this phase, you must dodge and parry the enemy’s attacks by moving between 4 squares or blocking the attack. Once the enemy’s stamina is exhausted, it’s your chance to attack and do as much damage before the enemy’s bar is recharged and the cycle starts again.
One of the funniest parts of the game is that in some battles, before the actual fight begins you have a chance to trash talk your opponent. The insults are amusing, and the right combination of insults can leave your enemy confused, distracted, or emotionally wounded – giving you an upper hand in battle. The opposite can also occur – say the wrong thing, and the enemy will just have extra motivation to beat you down.
Hands down, the most enjoyable part of the battles – aside from the quirky humor – is the soundtrack. The music you fight to is just so good. It’s got such a good groove and beat to it, I could listen to it all day.
If you want to try DON’T GIVE UP for yourself, Taco Pizza Cat Games has a free demo version of the game on Steam, with a full release expected later this year.