Wow, where do I start with this one?! Ok, Continue? is definitely an acquired taste. It begins with a beautifully drawn-out introduction on the death of a videogame character. Yet, he doesn't want to die. He escapes deletion for a while, and it's your job to keep him alive. While that sounds like an interesting premise for a game, Continue? doesn't stop there. Oh no. You quickly realise that the developer is trying to tell you something, and it soon turns into a reflection on life, on death, on childhood, love, freedom, knowledge and the inevitable. Each scenario that you play through is meant to be a prayer, not necessarily in an overtly religious sense (in fact, the game never comes across as preachy) but more in a sense of inner prayer, inner discovery for who you are, and what the important things in life are. It's not surprising that the developer made this game following a near-death experience. It does make you wonder whether there are better things to be doing with your life than playing a game, but that's beside the point!
Yes, there is a game here, but it's a long, drawn-out game full of interludes and reflection. Let me warn you, if you're not the kind of person who can sit through 5 minute long dreamy interludes, this game is probably not for you. Even the introduction, beautiful though it is, is completely unskippable each and every time you begin a new "life". When you eventually reach the gameplay, you're in a for a shock: it's hectic! You need to dash around looking for characters to speak to. Each will give you a clue, or a cryptic message, or open a door to a building. Getting information and opening doors is essential, because it's here that you can choose to either destroy sections of barriers that impede your exit from the level, or construct more buildings in your sanctuary town (more on that shortly). There's a strict time limit here, and you're also being chased around by chompers (servants of the garbage collector trying to delete you) that will drag you away to mini games if they touch you. Mini games happen every 45 to 60 seconds, and are either 2d riffs on simple arcade games, or 3d exploration / combat games. None last long, yet if you fail you will suffer the consequences! Each failure usually leads to the destruction of buildings in your sanctuary, and this is fatal if you aren't careful. Every two levels you will be taken to your sanctuary to survive a garbage collection "storm". Several buildings will be destroyed, and you need buildings to shelter from the storm. Run out of buildings, and you get deleted. This is how you die in the game, for real.
This gets really frustrating when you're having a run of bad luck. Finding characters, talking to them and making "prayers" to build your sanctuary or "lightning" to destroy exit barriers is very random; sometimes you might run around like a headless chicken for 20 seconds without finding anyone to speak to (and when the time limit for each deletion attempt is 45 seconds, that's a long time!), sometimes the lightning hits the same piece of ground over, and over, and you "waste" valuable time trying to escape the level, sometimes the price you pay for making a mini-game error is the deletion of 80% of your sanctuary buildings (other times you get off lightly). It feels unfair at times, yet when it's going your way it feels wonderful. It's as though the developer is telling you that life sometimes sucks!
Yet despite all this, I love the game. I really shouldn't, it does all these things that annoy me, and yet it's... it's just compelling, somehow magical, relaxing even if you're in the right frame of mind for it. If you're not, expect to rage quit! (it's CTRL+Q btw). I wouldn't blame you.