Do the (Llama)Worm

When dealing with sickness or frailty, the mind can be a powerful tool to remove yourself of current burdens into a better, more magical world.  Drawing pictures or writing stories can pass the time needed to heal and can be a huge boon to keeping spirits high during tumultuous times.  Video games venture into this fray as well with more and more exploration into emotionally charged topics, for example hospitalization requiring a break or two from your current predicament.  For Mr. Saitou, an assortment of negative choices and tough breaks led him to needing the help of the imagination to move himself forward.

Long hours, sleepless nights, and the need for a drink or two highlighted Mr. Saitou’s corporate position as a cog in the machine.  Stumbling throughout the city inebriated and passing out on the subway floor, Saitou awakens within the off-color, sterile walls of the local hospital.  Unsure of how he got there but well-aware of what he did to get there, the doctors inform him that he’ll need some time to recoup and to just take it easy.  While there, he somewhat forcefully meets with a child taking residence in the hospital as well.  His talk of “Llamaworms” and other creatures is…a little confusing to Saitou, but he’s stuck here.  So why not see what the child has to offer?

Mr. Saitou transports you into a strange fantasy world where Saitou is…Saitou.  But now harboring the body of a Llamaworm, which looks probably like what you’re expecting a child to make when combining the two together.  Saitou helps provide business papers to his boss, steadily avoids that one co-worker who talks way too much, and tries to help people even if they don’t need it.  Seriously, they can hit that button just fine.  Leave them be.  The foundations of RPG Maker show here as everything gameplay-wise is easy to pick up.  This is not a game trying to be the most technically advanced, but more interested in using the platform given to best tell their story, and I can respect that.

Traversing through the world outside the mundane “business business numbers” innards of the Llamaworm’s corporate gig, Saitou’s world-making companion wants to see a specific landmark that the child has been unable to reach.  Here Saitou is tasked to do an assortment of puzzles and fetch quests.  All of them are very easy and don’t require much work, but also a kid made these puzzles for Saitou, so what were you expecting?  There’s a lovely cast of characters that bring some good laughs with some solid writing direction, and the musical number in the final third was as unexpected as it was awesome.  The final bits really deliver a nice sentimental message and life lesson for not only Saitou, but for anyone who might be in a position of being overworked and underappreciated and what to do to look around that for the positive slice of life.

Mr. Saitou runs a solid 2-3 hours in its playtime but really doesn’t need much more to tell what it wants to tell.  It’s not a game that is going to “wow” you with gameplay and mechanics as everything is very basic and easy to learn, but the story pulls itself nicely along with nice pockets of humor and emotion to guide you through Mr. Saitou’s make-believe-but-very-needed-for-him journey.