Warning: Flashing screens.
Carrill Munning's dark science-fiction platform adventure Perdition is about as mystifying as it is unsettling, and it's pretty darned unsettling. At the start of the game you awaken, a voiceless robotic girl with a mop of purple hair, in a dark and decaying place. As you search for a way out, you find yourself mocked by a voice that seems to know far more about what happened to you than you do, and when you finally reach the outside world, you discover a place perhaps even harsher and more disturbing than the one you left. Use the [arrow] keys to move and [X] to jump, and if you die, you'll be reassembled at checkpoints scattered throughout each level... they look like shattered scientific tubes, so keep an eye out for them. Throughout the game you'll receive instructions from two voices who seem to hate each other, but whether you obey them is up to you. There's always another option, but going your own way might be even harder than whatever fate the voices have in store for you.
If you've played Loved, Perdition might remind you of it despite the stark differences in style and design, largely due to the way you're repeatedly challenged by a voice that seems to want nothing more than to keep you under its thumb, berating you when you disobey. The contempt dripping from the tone of the writing coupled with the grimy environmental art and unnerving character designs, makes Perdition one oppressive experience. If you disobey the orders you're given, the alternative path is more difficult, though it does wind up feeling at times as if that extra difficulty comes from the fact that the movement isn't quite fast enough to react on the fly to threats. This means that you're going to find yourself booted back to the scarce checkpoints frequently if you're a split second too late, or too fast, in a jump.
That tiny control delay is something you might notice even more once combat makes an appearance later on, though enemies at least flash in warning before becoming dangerous... but do you really need to fight? Perdition keeps you guessing as to who you can really trust, and even what you're willing to do to make the experience easier for yourself. It's not a moral choice system in the traditional sense, largely because not every choice is obvious as such, but it does make you question what you're doing and why, and whether there might have been another way. Whether you're willing to push through the sometimes clunky and admittedly somewhat repetitive gameplay to find out what's going on largely depends on how interested you are in finding out if Perdition can carry off the heavier narrative themes it's going for. Still, Perdition has style and presence like few others, and if you have the patience and a penchant for both the surreal and the dark, it's more than worth your time, and with four different endings, it has a lot of replay value under its belt to boot.