by Dr Sedeer El-Showk
Don’t be fooled by its brevity or the fact that it’s a free, browser-based game: Will Love Tear Us Apart is anything but a ‘casual’ game. Based on Joy Division’s cult hit Love Will Tear Us Apart, the game consists of three sparse but beautifully portrayed levels that guide the player through the emotional journey of a relationship on the brink of collapse.
Developed by Mighty Box Games with support from the Malta Arts Fund, Will Love Tear Us Apart is a unique game. Game designer Gordon Calleja eschews conventions, using the game’s mechanics in the service of the emotional and thematic content. In general, it works remarkably well, creating a rich and rewarding (if mildly depressing) experience. Breaks while the next level loads can be an unfortunate disruption, but the excellent second level more than makes up for it.
It’s incredible that a relatively short and simple game manages to provoke such a strong emotional response. If you allow yourself to be absorbed by it (use headphones!), you’ll probably find yourself reflecting on the experience as it lingers in your mind. In fact, playing Will Love Tear Us Apart even taught me something about myself — now that’s a gaming first!