Game Reviews

NO THING - The future's bleak, the future's dystopian

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NO THING - The future's bleak, the future's dystopian

Imagine if WaveWave and Fotonica collided with a fever dream fresh from Terry Gilliam's frenzied mind, and then the whole thing was reimagined with a retro-futuristic aesthetic from 1994.

That's NO THING. This auto runner has snap turns, a distinctly old-school tech vibe, and buckets of weirdness. And it's hard as nails, to the point it'll drive you to despair.

The game dumps you in its strange and surreal world, a snaking pathway threaded through a fragmented landscape, seemingly full of abandoned levitating detritus from the corporate world.

A rusty synthetic voice barks out which direction to turn, provides cryptic clues about the nature of the game, and then tumbles into an abyss of dystopian weirdness about the nature of NO THING's society.


Apparently, you're an office clerk with a message for the Queen of Ice.

Beyond that, the narrative immerses itself in the horrors of modern life, wheezing about your eight hours of sleep followed by eight hours spent in the office for the 'reward' of eight hours of TV.

Cheery stuff.

But while NO THING's world is almost oppressively unnerving and downbeat, you'll be hard pressed to notice, given that the slightest lapse in concentration means your message isn't going to be delivered to anyone.

All you have to do to keep moving is tap the left or right of the screen to stay on the path. But doing so is initially tricky, and rapidly becomes ego-smashingly demanding.


The routes never change, so you can in theory commit them to memory. The problem is it's not always clear where to go or how to get there.

The fourth level, for example, appears to conform to the basic structure of an office tower, only with most of the office tower removed.

As you pelt along, you regularly get flung into the air and must make 90-degree turns before landing on a pathway you can't actually see.

This means NO THING isn't just about the careful timing and path-finding usually associated with this sort of game, but also a kind of sixth sense regarding when to commit.

Often, you'll get it wrong - murderously frustrating when you conquer 99 per cent of a level, get killed, and realise you'll need to start the minutes-long challenge from scratch. Again.

You'll slam down your device, determined to forever leave NO THING's universe. And then you'll have another go, because there's no way you're going to let a game beat you.

NO THING - The future's bleak, the future's dystopian

Aesthetically gorgeous, but narrowly misses brilliance by being a bit too brutal. Definitely worth a look though
Craig Grannell
Craig Grannell
Craig gets all confused with modern games systems with a million buttons, hence preferring the glass-surfaced delights of mobile devices. He spends much of his time swiping and tilting (sometimes actually with a device), and also mulling why no-one’s converted Cannon Fodder to iPad.