The history of the Black Plague is taught to all of us, but My Friend is a Raven shows it to us from a different perspective. Such a dark topic might not seem like a fun idea, but this game is truly engaging and pulls the player into its world within the first few moments.
What is My Friend is a Raven about?
You play as Lutum, the last man alive after the destruction brought on by the Black Plague. You take a final trip to your old apartment to find a raven that can tell you what happened to the world.
The game mechanics are quite simple, you can move by using the WASD keys, although as this is a 2D game, you will mostly be using A and D. Besides this, you will need to click on items to pick them up or to inspect them. This is crucial, as it’s the only way to unlock different endings. You can get 4 and once you have seen every one of them, the picture will be clear. This will take about an hour at most.
You should read the inspections either way, as they give a glimpse into this whole apocalyptic world. Lutum likes to go into morbid details, which makes this game a hundred times more fun.
What is good about My Friend is a Raven?
The first thing you noticed was probably the art style. It’s absolutely gorgeous and quite honestly it was what drew me in. If you have heard about This War of Mine then you probably already know how much this black and white style can help enhance the atmosphere. Although, there actually is a lot of color in the game, but you won’t notice it until you get “the bad ending”. I’m not going to spoil it, go see it for yourself.
Because everything is in this hand-drawn style, it makes things seem a little more distant and unrealistic, which was absolutely necessary. No person should think about actually getting into a situation like this. Lutum’s character also helps you disassociate yourself from this, as he has the typical plague doctor look.
The next thing to note about My Friend is a Raven is the sound. The music is dark, cold and a bit quiet. Because it complements the atmosphere perfectly, you won’t even notice it unless you pay attention. I had to sit still for a few seconds before I heard it. This was mostly because there are quite a few sound effects, including creaks, door openings and wing flapping. And might I mention, these are all very realistic.
And finally, the story. Sadly, I can’t tell you all about it, because it would only consist of spoilers. But the few things you need to know are: the storytelling is perfect, the game is paced really well, and the dialogue is on point. I couldn’t find a single problem with these.
What is bad about My Friend is a Raven?
One of the few problems I had with this game was surprisingly, the frame rate. I get it ,My Friend is a Raven is absolutely gorgeous, but it shouldn’t require the same specs as a AAA game to hit decent FPS. If this one problem would be resolved then I could play for hours.
Although, that’s not exactly possible. As I have said before, this game can be finished within an hour. And I do mean completely finished, as I saw all 4 endings within 15 minutes each. Even though I was rush a bit after finding every secret, it’s still a rather short experience, which is my second issue with My Friend is a Raven.
I would have loved it if the developer put more content into this game, as it could have really benefited from it. Just a few more glimpses back on Lutum’s past, or what the world was like before. Or simply how things got to the point of extinction. These would have improved my experience so much, but that might only be because I focus on the story line too much.
Either way, the shortness of the game is not a major problem, as not all developers can afford to keep extending their game, even after they feel like it’s finished. And besides, this is still a great run length for the price.
All in all, I would really recommend playing My Friend is a Raven. It puts things into perspective that we don’t really think about often, and it might make you wonder a little bit about our past.
Also, if you like it then you should keep an eye out for Two Star Games’ next work, which will come out later this year. It will be similar to My Friend is a Raven and is called My Beautiful Paper Smile. And don’t worry about it being short too, as Vicarious Publishing is supporting the developers. I am confident we can expect a longer experience this time around.