Jump scares are, in my opinion, an overdone method of creating fear. The website ‘HowToGeek’ describes them as “a sudden loud or startling noise, or something that suddenly appears unexpectedly.” This includes the classic pop-out scare where a monster suddenly jumps into view to startle you.
I’m happy to say that Please, Don’t Touch Anything does not rely on jump scares for its horror. Instead, it presents a relatively minimalistic environment with puzzles and riddles which are really quite mind-bending if you want to keep your sanity throughout the game. I completed the game without any help but there were certainly times when I was stuck and frustrated by what seems like an unsolvable puzzle! There is little guidance given to you by the game, so it can be hard to tell what does and does not matter. The developer expects the player to take part in their own trial-and-error tests for each level of the game.
When your progress doesn’t matter anymore, you hear a tone that sounds an awful lot like bacon sizzling in a pan… This gets me thinking about whether there’s something metaphorically ‘scary’ about finding out that everything is meaningless. At least with jump scares there’s a build-up of tension before your stupid human brain starts telling you how scared you should feel. But this feeling of nihilism can be terrifying in its own way! The art style is simple and minimalistic. This allows for smooth gameplay with no FPS drop, so ultimately it’s a good choice. There are only two characters shown in the game: a blob-like shadow of yourself and a static looking man who may or may not help you if he can hear you. The music has an interesting eerie tone that I enjoyed listening to and helped contribute towards the mysterious atmosphere of the game.
There are 25 endings to discover in Please Don’t Touch Anything but you only need to solve 4 puzzles to finish the entire game – after all, according to Einstein, E = MC Hammer.
Overall, I really enjoyed this game. The mind-bending puzzles that nearly broke my brain were what drew me in but the journey to complete everything was the reason I continued playing. With an overall design decision of ‘less is more’ this game provides a horror experience that doesn’t rely on jump scares, which made it feel fresh and innovative.
Thanks for reading! The Please Don’t Touch Anything Endings are below…