Stilstand is a haunting and darkly comedic interactive graphic novel following the grim yet hopeful journey of one woman through a summer riddled with anxiety, loneliness, trying to stay afloat in Copenhagen with the help from the shadow monster in her apartment.Description from stilstandgame.com
Visual novels are an art form I cannot praise highly enough. They combine so many of my favorite creative pursuits into one convenient package. The point and click of a video game, the narrative of a comic book, and even excellent music!
Stilstand is an amazing example of how the fusion of those elements can pack a punch. With simple and intuitive game play, and a story line that is all too relatable, I found this game immersive and addictive. Don’t be fooled though, this game isn’t all about the spectacle. I found myself moved to laughter and sadness throughout this story. It’s easy to see myself in the protagonist, and the darkness in my own mind as her Shadow friend. I couldn’t help but keep progressing through the story because I wanted so much for her to find peace.
The artwork in this game has to be commended. It brought to mind the work of Emily Carrol who uses harsh lines and bold images to convey big emotion. I felt the same emotional punch from Stilstand. Feelings of isolation, desperation, loneliness, and longing scream through the screen. There is also a big focus on depression in this story. Some moments made me pause and look at my own mental health, and really examine those feelings in myself. For that reason, Stilstand is timely and representative of how many are feeling with continuing quarantine and physical distancing.
Though Stilstand is only an hour long, and there are several playthroughs of the game available to watch online, I really encourage you to play it for yourself. Every page is controlled by the reader/player in a way. There are small choices you get to make, and timing cues you can control. Those small elements mean that this story will be different for every person who plays it. Give it a go, and see what it has to say to you!
Big thanks to Niila Games, and Future Friends Games for providing a copy of the game for review.
Director, Artist, and writer
Producer and Technical Artist
Audio and Sound Designer