Where is My Mind?
If you’re a gamer who’s ever had their eye on the RPGMaker engine, it’s fair to assume you know who Freebird Games is. Proverbially smashing into the indie scene 10 years ago with their detailed masterpiece, To The Moon, Freebird has since added a sequel in 2017 and brings a continuation and possible end to the Sigmund Corp franchise with Impostor Factory. I’ll forewarn, this game is weird, and somewhat hard to wrap your head around at times, but bear with me: it’s worth it.
On a rainy day in front of a disheveled yet grandiose terrace, Quincy attends a party where the status quo is quite a few tax brackets higher than himself. While the outside is damp and disarranged, the inside of the mansion is as pristine as the proclaimed germaphobe tenants can make it. In this sprawling two story abode: scientists, investors, big wigs, and some in between find themselves attending to see a mechanical miracle that could change the world in ways never seen before. Before Quincy and company can see what’s in store for them, Quincy stumbles upon the freshly murdered bodies of the mansion’s owners. Unraveling at the seams, Quincy runs to the bathroom to avoid suspicion and explanation. After washing the blood from his hands when checking the bodies, he returns to a similar scene not a few minutes earlier. None of the guests were the wiser of what happened because the mansion’s residents are still alive and well. What lays ahead for Quincy is what can be best described as Clue mixed with Groundhog Day.
But hold on friends, this is only the first part of the game. Impostor Factory builds itself into its own name as the genre of this title changes almost by the hour, going from a darkly comedic whodunit into something creator Kan Gao is more known for: heart-string tugging love stories. Genre changes this abrupt could be expected to go through some bumpiness, but the love and care taken into the two characters’ backstory is so engulfing, engaging, and provoking that you almost forget this game was making you laugh with its ridiculousness. Within minutes you’re now in Impostor Factory’s grip with how somber and captivating the history between these two are and time feels like it stops with how hard it pulls you in.
And it builds tremendously upon its middle act. Impostor Factory serenades the player with a wave of simple yet beautiful piano scores throughout. Engaging enough to liven a scene yet subdued enough to appreciate the details of the flashbacks: it’s these tender moments that get enunciated that shine the brightest and hit the hardest. Dealing with the ups and downs, slips and falls, the highest highs and lowest lows, and the simplistic in-betweens that most couples cherish the most. The amount of emotional weight of the two characters pressed on the player is astonishing given the minimal amount of time used and a true testament to the emotional genius Gao is at his craft.
When that emotional weight carries into Impostor Factory’s third act, the strands of a lifelong journey intertwined by a choice encounter start to tie together with familiar characters and the twists and turns that are revealed provide a beautifully poignant end to the absolute roller coaster of a story. The choices and paths led after all the mysteries are laid out as far as they are deep and all I could do was just admire the impeccable direction of Quincy’s story until the credits rolled, and I could exhale after what felt like an eternity of holding my breath for them.
Emotionally, I’m exhausted. But mentally, I’m so happy I spent the time diving head first into Impostor Factory. Kan Gao shows once again the supreme talent and direction he’s used over the past decade to tell a funny, imaginative, and emotionally crushing tale of living life to the fullest no matter the obstacles thrown in front of you. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to put back on the OST and try not to cry.
…I’m gonna cry a lot.
A Steam code was independently purchased for review.
Impostor Factory game opens like any great homicide secret ought to. It’s a terrible evening, complete with a downpour and a shocking sense that something’s wrong.