Please, Don’t Touch Anything
Gameplay 9
Graphics 8
Sound 9

Please, Don’t Touch Anything is a devious game that preys on your natural curiosity. You are given one order, but to discover all the hidden secrets the game has to offer you will have to disobey it. What happens after that depends entirely on how good your problem solving skills and lateral thinking are. It is a great game for anyone that enjoys cracking puzzles, but the easily frustrated might want to pass.

Gameplay: Deceptively simple, but the multitude of endings will keep you coming back for more.

Graphics: All the action takes place on a single pixel art screen.

Sound: Some very foreboding and atmospheric chiptune tracks

Summary 8.7 Outstanding
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Please, Don’t Touch Anything

Developer: Four Quarters | Publisher: BulkyPix, Plug In Digital | Release Date: 2015 | Genre: Indie / Strategy | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam / itch.io

Please, Don’t Touch Anything bills itself as a “brain-racking game about bathroom breaks, screwdrivers and nuclear explosions” which, to be honest, sums it up perfectly. In fact, to reveal anything more about the game would probably require spoilers! Typically we try to be as in-depth as possible with our reviews, but in the case of this game it is definitely better to go in knowing as little as possible. This is because the cryptic nature of the game is its biggest draw and figuring out what is going on is immensely satisfying.

After a colleague implores you to watch his work station while he takes a bathroom break you are pretty much left to your own devices. You are given strict instructions not to touch anything, but since the contraption in front of you consists of a single screen and a large, red button it is quite hard not to. If you give in to your natural impulses and press the button interesting things start to happen with the control panel. Your actions after pressing the button will then determine which one of the sixteen different outcomes you get. Just remember that every action has consequences and in this game curiosity can kill more than just the cat!

The gloomy pixel art visuals of Please, Don’t Touch Anything instantly reminded us of Papers, Please as does the fact that the game is played out entirely on one screen. The panel in front of you is the sole focus of the game and the different outcomes you can unlock are displayed on the glowing green monitor. Messing around with the different buttons on the panel will cause “things” to happen to the city and these range from the terrifying to the absurd. Each time you unlock a new ending a poster is added to the wall behind the control panel, which is why we have kept the screenshots for this review generic enough not to ruin anything.

Don’t for a second think that the game is easy just because it initially presents you with a single red button. Once again, I don’t want to spoil any surprises, but this game probably contains more brainteasers and puzzles on its single screen than you would encounter in other puzzle titles with 50 different levels. Solving the puzzles also requires some very out of the box thinking and I can’t recall any other game that ever had me doing Google searches about medieval Italian mathematicians!

Don’t worry if numbers are not your strong point either as the game is very good at making puzzles seem very complicated while the answers are actually deceptively straightforward. I was actually astonished by how many clues and straight up answers the game dangles right in front of your nose without it being too obvious. The sense of accomplishment when you do actually crack a puzzle is very satisfying though and the “endings” you get is also very rewarding.

Of course, if you don’t enjoy solving puzzles or staring at cryptic switches, buttons and levers trying to figure out how it all fits together you will probably find the game to be frustrating. Many of the “puzzles” hinge on solving other “puzzles” first, so if you get stuck early on it might feel like you have wasted your money. I would strongly advise against consulting any guides or walkthroughs however as you would definitely be robbing yourself of the satisfaction gleamed from making a breakthrough. It actually took me a couple of hours to discover all the endings in the game and, ironically enough, it was the most obvious outcome that eluded me the longest.

It is not just the bleak pixel art visuals that gives this game such a great atmosphere, but also the foreboding music. The second I touched the button the first time the music that started playing immediately made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. The ominous music continues to play as you fiddle with the console and you also get different tunes depending on the endings you discover. The soundtrack definitely fits the game to a “T” and I had some of the tunes stuck in my head for days. The OST is actually available from Steam and Bandcamp as a separate release, so if you are a fan of sinister chiptune tracks don’t miss out. The entire game is controlled with a mouse and interacting with the console is as simple as clicking or dragging.

Although Please, Don’t Touch Anything doesn’t have much of a storyline the puzzles and atmosphere kept me hooked until I got all the endings. Depending on how good your puzzle solving skills are it will probably take a few hours to discover everything that the game has to hide. It is definitely not a game for the easily frustrated or players who want everything spelled out for them, but if you enjoy a good challenge and want to stretch your grey matter this game comes highly recommended.

System Requirements

  • OS: Microsoft® Windows® Vista / 7 / 8
  • Processor: Any processor with at least 1.0GHz
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Graphics: Any card with at least 128MB
  • Hard Drive: 27 MB available space
  • OS: Microsoft® Windows® Vista / 7 / 8
  • Processor: Any processor with at least 1.0GHz
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Graphics: Any card with at least 128MB
  • Hard Drive: 27 MB available space

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