At first glance, Awkward is nothing but a simple game that thrives off of uncomfortable situations. While its gameplay certainly can create awkward moments, Snap Finger Click’s newest party game is so much more at its core; for better and for worse.
Yes, Awkward is a classic party game with straightforward gameplay, but by purposeful design, it is carried on the shoulders of its rich history. Awkward‘s compelling history defines the game from the very beginning but seems to be the only factor that separates itself from all other party games.
From Banned To Back
Originally, Awkward found its way into the gaming scene as a popular card game in the 1800s. It began as and still is a game that pitted friends, significant others, and family members against each other. Its concept was built around the use of controversial, uncomfortable, and divisive questions to spark conversation and arguments between its players.
In the late 1800s, the government banned the controversial card game due to the increase in bar fights, family feuds, and divorces that it instigated. Awkward had been banned and inaccessible to the public ever since, until now. Snap Finger Click’s recreation of the legendary card game has brought Awkward back to life, and it is as divisive as ever.
In A World Of Party Games
Although Awkward‘s history is extremely intriguing, it is important to remember that we do live in a world with many popular party games – like Super Mario Party and Jackbox Games. So how does Awkward stand out in the party game genre? Simple answer: it doesn’t.
Despite having a richer history than any other party games, Awkward does what all party games are made to do: it lets fellowship between its players create the fun, while it simply ignites the conversation and then stands back to take credit. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it does mean that this title’s gameplay is far from unique.
Gameplay Rules All
In fact, Awkward‘s gameplay is lackluster and can become very dull. The game is built around two simple mechanics: choose your answer and choose what you think your friend(s) answers were. Matches are made up of three separate rounds with the more controversial and difficult questions being asked in later rounds.
A single-player mode is available, but is a horrendous waste of time and is far from fun. As the only player participating, you are presented a question and must choose the answer you believe has been chosen the most by the public. It is exhausting and I found myself wishing I could end the round as quickly as possible.
Although Awkward does have an atrocious single-player mode, I will commend Snap Finger Click for their unique art style. Even while I was wishing I could end my first playthrough of the single-player mode, the cardboard-like cutouts had me adoring the game’s art style, an art style that caused Little Big Planet nostalgia to flood my mind.
Good, Bad, Or Ugly?
But how good is it? In order to accurately judge it, Awkward must be reviewed on two separate layers: single-player and multiplayer. If you are deciding on whether to purchase this indie game solely for its single player mode, I advise strongly against that. Snap Finger Click did not design their title around any kind of single-player experience, it seems merely ‘thrown in’, with no thought of solo players in mind.
In terms of its multiplayer, this is a game that may grow old very quickly. While I did experience some joy playing it with friends, its flaws consumed most of the potential fun. The rounds are short and the only enjoyable questions do not show up until the later on in the match.
Unfortunately, this makes the first two rounds tedious and boring. However, allowing up to six players, Awkward does become a better game as the amount of players increase. The more players participating, the better your experience will be.
So What Now?
Unless Snap Finger Click can find a way to make Awkward‘s single-player mode enjoyable, I just do not see how it can be worth the $11.99 price tag on Steam. While it is the same price on the Nintendo eShop, I reviewed Awkward on the Nintendo Switch and I must say it pairs nicely with Nintendo’s newest handheld-hybrid console.
If I were Snap Finger Click and wanted to improve my game, in addition to ramping up the single player mode, I would focus on introducing the raunchier and controversial questions earlier on in the rounds. Combine that with longer rounds, and Awkward could actually be a game I would recommend to friends. However, in its current state, this project lacks the gameplay necessary to keep me interested.