Franz Kafka: Video games are the result of a wide variety of creative talents coming together, so it’s no wonder that their creators draw inspiration from many different areas of the arts. However, games based on classical literary works are quite rare. This, however, is explained by the fact that giving an entertaining form to such a primary source is a non-trivial task that requires a non-standard approach.
Independent developer Denis Galanin, better known as mif2000, does a good job of handling the writer’s legacy with his The Franz Kafka Videogame (much like his previous game, Hamlet). Initial images, characters and artistic techniques are used by him as details for constructing his own story, sometimes quite ironically and with humor. At the same time, throughout the entire narrative, the player is accompanied by an atmosphere of surrealism, absurdity and anxiety inherent in the classics. It is created not only by plot moves, but also by animation, somewhat reminiscent of cartoon inserts from Monty Python’s Flying Circus. The visual part looks much more solid and convincing than in Hamlet, and the discreet soundtrack complements the overall picture, favorably emphasizing the mood of the scenes and the events taking place,
And there is something to focus on here, since in-game puzzles do not always lend themselves to the logic we are used to. The action takes place within the same screen, and the tasks are not interconnected (remember the early creations of Amanita Design), but there is no need to complain about the monotony. The game forces you to look at what is happening from an unexpected angle, many puzzles have a double bottom, and even the built-in hint system does not always make the solution obvious. In addition, the author freely handles the form: for example, the protagonist’s walk around the city turns into a kind of board game, which now and then violates its own rules. Even the classic quest “tags” get a fresh development here. In addition, when passing through, one cannot do without basic knowledge of English, since many game situations are built on the ingenious linking of words and images, as if emphasizing their literary roots. Unfortunately, sometimes there are picturesque, but rather one-sided in essence puzzles, the solution of which is not complete without a banal enumeration of options. At such moments, it is felt that the artistic intent loses to the gameplay.
During the passage, you get so used to numerous experiments with the perception of the player that the sudden ending is confusing. Until the last, the thought does not leave that the final credits are another symbolic trick of the author, that now the story will go in a new circle. The short duration of the game is frankly frustrating at first. But in fairness, The Franz Kafka Videogame is a project created by one person, and you should not expect any special monumentality from it. The important thing is that in the hands of Denis Galanin, the complex and unambiguous work of Franz Kafka was transformed into an unusual and exciting interactive entertainment.