Oh, boy, have I got a quirky one to review for you today, Any Button Gaming presents: Legally Addicted. Here’s a title that’s not afraid to wear its heart on its sleeve. Born from a pandemic, and the brainchild of Ivan Motta: meet John, an average joe with a nicotine addiction and a job to keep. Join us in Sensin Games’ frantic 3rd person race against time to get John out for a cigarette – before he gets fired.
How one derives fun from a product tends to be highly subjective. Therefore ALL forms of review are opinionated and should be taken with a grain of salt (this included). So let’s review Legally Addicted through the lens of more objective metrics such as; graphical fidelity, characters/story, content/length, controls & gameplay, then finally, sound design & cinematics. This product was reviewed on a 1050Ti 4Gb, 8GB Ram, with an i5-7300HQ. For full transparency: this content was reviewed using a provided key.
Utilizing the Unity Engine Legally Addicted is colorful to a dramatic extent. Applied filters give visuals the imitating warp of a CRT T.V. with an overlay of live news coverage. The different filters players can apply or remove are Screen FX (curved lense), and Avec Noir (black and white). I especially like the in-game overlay dubbed the “paranoia reporter”. This overlay shows players their maps, unemployment, and anxiety meters, coupled with the current objective in the bottom left corner. When opening the game the launcher allows players to set graphics presets, resolution, and fullscreen/windowed modes. This would be all fine and dandy if it didn’t appear to reset back to low presets in-game. I tried to no avail to test graphical settings between low and ultra as they either don’t change, or the difference is unnoticeably minimal. On the note of issues, I noticed massive clipping problems with a bright light planing through the floor like a dimensional rift.
Attention to detail is surprisingly apparent to those with a keen eye. Small elements such as the Windows photo “Bliss” being on monitors and bold/expressive lettering really help bring Legally Addicted to life. Truly, these minor features breathe individuality into this title. The originality and freshness of construction contribute a (subtly) great deal to the game’s aesthetics overall.
As far as performance is concerned, frame rate was pretty good (hitting 60fps) although inconsistent. I experienced quite a lot of screen tearing – I really must admit Legally Addicted requires some graphical optimization. Performance isn’t its strong suit, however, it does run acceptably well, and offers a rebuild option in case players get stuck or experience an irreparable bug. That being said, I was never forced to utilize this feature as I experienced no game-breaking issues. Legally Addicted looks okay, though considering the scope and scale alongside the physics-y destructible environments it’s acceptable.
Characters & Story
A true enigma, Legally Addicted structures its plot and setting around a maze-like office. While not heavily story-oriented, Legally Addicted introduces John Smoke – a man with a nicotine addiction and gut-wrenching anxiety.
John Smoke is a nice guy. He just started in a new job, in a big, tall, and important company. He wanted to impress his boss, so he spent all day writing reports and didn’t have time to smoke a single cigarette. With so much to do, he is now alone and lost in a building he knows nothing about. Only you can help John find his way out for a smoke before he loses his mind.Sensin Games
Considering the dungeon plunging nature of Legally Addicted, I understand the choice to not focus on the narrative. This would, however, keep players interested for longer periods of time, allowing them to get more invested in the product. Speaking of player investment, let’s get into that.
Content & Length
Legally Addicted makes use of procedural generation to design its maps. While these can be nonsensical at times, the randomization retains replayability due to unpredictable in map layouts. With “11 levels, 2 bosses and 5 different enemies” Legally Addicted won’t be a 40+ hour romp but does offer some replayable enjoyment at an enticing price point.
A primary driving factor for Legally Addicted’s retention is derived from its inherent comedic value. This is ingrained into this game’s DNA at every turn, which is nice, as it keeps the context light in regards to the potentially serious subject matter. Depending on subjective preference in comedy, this could make or break the game for some players. Another aspect that may keep individuals coming back would be the golden paperwork you may find scattered throughout the office floors. These offer different characters & skins granting some aesthetic variety and unlockables to strive for. By the way, this game contains no checkpoints or saves so be prepared to smash all 11 levels in one run! I found this design choice really drives home the anxiety induction we are meant to empathise with John about.
Controls & Gameplay
Controls are unusual; using W & S to move forward and back, with A & D to look horizontally. Players will then use the mouse to aim their weapons and look vertically. Scrolling the mouse wheel will change weapons, shift will sprint, with space jumping, and right mouse allowing crouching/strafing. As I do say the control scheme is unusual, I feel I should clarify. Because of Legally Addicted’s frantic nature and time sensitivity, players end up sprinting around maniacally and this control setup accommodates that. It is, however, not a standard setup and will take some getting used to. In regards to controlling the menu, I’d noticed button detection for difficulty, and audio levels are wonky.
As much as Legally Addicted feels perfect for controller gameplay, that option isn’t (unfortunately) here. Controller support is always a nice bonus, regardless of personal preference. A frustrating aspect I noticed was the decision to make the text change by pressing the enter key, forcing the player to remove their hand from their mouse. The option to use the control button is also available (not that the player is informed), however, this tends to make John waste ammo on the final press.
Foundationally, the premise is this: run John around the office acquiring keys to get to the next floor – eventually finding your way out. Obstacles that arise range from John’s demons (including cigarettes, calculators, etc), the randomly generated mazing network of rooms and hallways, along with time sensitivity linked to John’s employability and anxiety. Max out either of these and it’s game over for you. During John’s escape health is a non-factor, as bumping into and destroying company property will result in unemployment and anxiety rising. Everything outside of walls and floors are satisfyingly destructible though, I must admit. This results in explosions and large bolded block letters saying things like “LOSER”, or “FIRED”, that proceed to settle on the ground. This was probably my favorite characteristic of Legally Addicted, as it adds true uniqueness to its presentation.
John will also reach his arm out to grab nearby items; I liked this detail as local detection does feel crisp, I just wish positioning John was easier. Lastly, I mention this because I’m not sure if I extrapolated the intended direction here – bubbles appear around or from John implicating that he’s drowning. Further exemplifying the urgency of the situation for players.
Sound Design & Cinematics
Legally Addicted employs fitting use of its melodic tunes, even if they’re a bit repetitive after a while. Although I do ceaselessly enjoy the change of pace after completing the first floor, I wish that musical progression was more abundant. That being said I understand possible technical/resource limitations considering the pricing associated. After many hours of gameplay, the music is etched into my brain – for better or worse. Prior to jumping into the game players have language choices between English and Portuguese
Upon starting a run players have an optional cinematic, subsequently explaining John’s predicament and giving context to the office/dungeon crawl. This segment adequately portrays a basic narrative foundation but isn’t anything outstanding.
Generally speaking I quite liked Legally Addicted for what it has to offer. That being said, objectively speaking, it has some issues that (while not gamebreaking) require some ironing out. Paradoxically: taking into consideration the price point, I think Legally Addicted is worth the cost for a fast-paced, and moderately intriguing time killer. 6.6/10 Legally Addicted is available on Itch.io, at a price reduced from launch on June 10th, 2020. I can genuinely feel the passion burning in this project, and as Ivan hones his craft I’m sure he’ll bring many great projects yet. Regardless of my opinions of Legally Addicted, aptly described better than I:
“As an old school gamer (I’m almost 40), I miss challenging games like the original Doom or Ultima. So this is designed to be hard, replayable, anger-indulcing, but with fluid levels and increasing difficulty. For example, mouse is used for aiming only, but is not required (only if you want to shoot from greater distance). It was meant to ask newer games “Do we have to take the player by hand all the time?” Also this is my way of discussing serious questions about legal stuff that is addictive, and our modern society habits. The meters not showing percentage or remaining time is my way to transmit the anxiety and rage we addicteds feel when we can not smoke – and hopefully make the younger aware before they even start.”Ivan Motta
There’s definitely a sincerity to Legally Addicted, It’s a shame it doesn’t always translate.
What did you think of Legally Addicted? Let us know in the comments. If you enjoyed this content, why not check out our Mortal Shell PC Review?
Fancy being social? We’re on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Or if videos and/or podcasts are more your thing, why not subscribe to our YouTube and Twitch channels and track us down on Spotify. And if you wanna show your allegiance to ABG, you’ll be happy to know we have our own merch! All proceeds go to helping fund the site.
Don’t forget to drop us a comment down below
A Truly Unique Experience - If Unpolished At Times
- Score - 6.6/106.6/10
+ Effective Gameplay Loop Balancing Player Pressure With Reward
+ Interesting Visuals & Easter Eggs
– Performance Needs Work
– Rough Around The Edges
Just a Canadian dude who’s passionate about gaming, and the industry as a whole.