Most video games in existence are designed with the intention of putting the player through various challenges that are difficult but definitely not impossible. There is often some degree of forgiveness in that they don’t amp the difficulty too early on in the game without giving you the necessary tools and controls needed to overcome whatever lies ahead. However, every once in a while, a game will show up and burn this principle to the ground, throwing everything it has at you in an effort to derail you and make you scream angrily at the screen in front of you. The Dark Soul series comes to mind, as does old NES games such as Battletoads and Castlevania.
Let me clear: Getting Over It is NOT one of those games, not in the least.
Imagine a game that gives you the most inefficient tool possible for a certain task. Add to that controls that have deliberately been made to make it impossible to play, let alone win. Now imagine that this game doesn’t save your progress whenever you play it. Sounds bad, but allow me to make it worse. Now, imagine that every time you fail at the game, the game itself taunts you with pity and motivational quotes, telling you to try again. Sounds like a nightmare to play, doesn’t it?
That is Getting Over It.
The game was released on Steam on December 6th, 2017, with an iOS version releasing on the same day. It was inspired by a by a flash game called ‘Sexy Hiking‘ that was uploaded on gamemakergames by a user named Jazzuo, and its clear that Getting Over It took the difficulty of that game, and amped it up to an unrecognisable extent. There is no story, or overarching plot or anything of the sort. You start off with a man emerging from a cauldron, grabbing a hammer as soon as his upper body comes into view, after which you start moving towards a giant mountain. Your only goal for the entire game is to climb this mountain. You’re not given any tools to help you, no other control schemes other than your mouse or trackpad, and through it all, Bennet Foddy himself will talk to you about various philosophical topics, along with some quotes from some of the greatest people who have ever lived, like Jennifer Anniston and Mr. T. (no, that is not a joke) When you lose a considerable amount of progress, soft, slightly upbeat music will start playing, which is meant to keep the mood upbeat and not depressing like the rest of the game. The game quickly gained a following for being notoriously difficult and unforgiving towards the player, quickly becoming the focal point of many YouTube playthroughs by gamers. As I mentioned before, there is no save feature, so if you fall down the mountain, you lose every single inch of progress that you made. The controls are glitchy and hard to operate, but in all probability, this was done on purpose to contribute to the entire experience. The hammer flails about as you try to latch on to the next object, hoping against hope that your momentum will be enough to carry you past it and on to the next challenge. The physics of the game can be figured out fairly quickly, but its mastering them and using them to their fullest which is difficult. On Steam, the game has a tag of ‘Psychological Horror’, which I suppose is the developer’s way of telling us that we’re in for a ride when we play the game.
Despite the difficulty of the game, it has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from gamers across the board. It currently has a ‘Very Positive’ rating on Steam, with users praising the difficulty of the game, and many of the reviews call it a metaphor for life, a notion that I actually cannot deny. The negative reviews of the game mostly talk about the controls and how the degree of difficulty was so large so as to actually turn them away from trying to play the game at all. However, I feel that when this game is to be looked at from a critical lens, it is impossible to judge it based on the standards that other games are judged by, as it is different in almost every way. It is clear that this game was created for a specific purpose for a specific type of player. Overall, I would recommend this game, but I also know that its definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, so I would say for you to know what you’re in for if you decide to buy this game. It’s not going to be an easy ride up. The best way for me to tell you this would be the tagline of the game:
I created this game for a certain kind of person. To hurt them.
~ Bennet Foddy
The game has been nominated for the Seumas McNelly Prize, Excellence in Design and the Nuovo Award as part of the IGF Competition Awards.