First note: do not
press ESC during gameplay. It will exit the game and you'll have to start over.
Serena is a very interesting experience. I hesitate to call it a game since there's no real gameplay. You only interact with a small environment and learn the story of your unnamed narrator and his wife Serena.
I won't go into details about the story, but I will mention that the twist took me a second playthrough to truly understand. The first time through I pegged the game as predictable, but I didn't realize how much of the story I had missed. The second go round, I discovered the "real" twist ending (and felt quite stupid for having it fly over my head before).
Because of this, I definitely recommend you to play through slowly and carefully. Use the spacebar to highlight objects you can interact with and click through them until you've heard every story dialogue from them. There are small clues scattered throughout as to what happened in that lonely cabin.
If you pace yourself and listen through the whole story, the ending goes from predictable to quite rewarding (for you, at least).
But as I mentioned earlier, I can't really call this a game. If you're looking for a horror game
, this isn't the title for you. If you want a tense, haunting experience
, you're in the right place. This would be a game worth a few dollars; the fact that it's free is icing on the cake.
The atmosphere is dark and moody, and the music and sounds really seal the deal; the songs will knock you off your mental balance, and the silences will raise your nerves on end. It's a short experience, but it's one that will stick with me for a while.
If I had to make any changes, it would be these:
- Take out the ESC quitting the game issue. I tried to pause the game partway through my first run and had to start from scratch. Most people expect ESC to lead to a menu, so I imagine this is a common occurence.
- A bit more notification that an object has been fully interacted with would be nice. It's a short game, but there's no need to pad it out further.