Word Killer: Zorgilonian Chronicles Steam Pile Review
A Medical Dictionary + MS Art Blood
I knew Word Killer: Zorgilonian Chronicles was special from the moment I saw its title. What words will you kill? Why are you killing them? How do you kill a word? These questions draw you in, but then the title hits you with another mystery. It knows that you do not know what a “Zorgilon” is. It does not care, because it knows that you will care about the mystery, and soon you will care about the reality.
When you try to get into the game proper, more questions arise. It gives you two options: Russian Rage and American Hate. Why the difference in nationality? Is the game trying to make a statement on the nationalities that divide us and promote tension between peoples? Why the rage and why the hate? Is Russian Rage fundamentally different than American Hate? Who is really in the wrong?
Then you find out that it just determines which keyboard the game uses, at least on a skin-deep analysis (I will be sure to update this with a hot take if updates add more depth to this feature).
You play an engineer who runs a death machine to defend against orange humanoid enemies with axes attacking in three distinct lanes. To use your death machine, you type letters that correspond with each lane, which then shoot out giant metal pinwheels of death, obliterating any who happen to be wandering down that particular lane. If you let them get to the bottom of the screen, they wander into your control center and kill you.
Unlike other typing games, this one does not mess around with things like, “words commonly used by people.” Instead, the games seeks to expand your vocabulary. You may make the serious mistake of assuming that the jumbles of syllables and letters are just that, but in fact everything you type is an actual word. Yes, even priggishly, which comes from the word, priggish, which means, “a person who displays or demands of others pointlessly precise conformity, fussiness about trivialities, or exaggerated propriety, especially in a self-righteous or irritating manner.”
Or balneology, which is, “the science dealing with therapeutic effects of baths and bathing.”
Or my favorite, adactylous, which means, “having no fingers or toes.”
Or any number of other obscure words that even I, a Bachelor of English, was baffled by. After playing this game, I threw my degree into the trash because if it could not prepare me for the Zorgilonian Chronicles, what use was it?
The graphics are immediately striking. Remember when, in middle school computer class, you drew your friends with their arms cut off and blood shooting everywhere? Now take that and put it in a modern game that is being sold for actual money. Yes, actual money. This combination of childlike artistic talents combined with adultlike cynicism, because again sold for actual money, creates a compelling central question: why was this made? This question cascades and builds further development into more developed questions like, “Why am I playing this,” “Did I really pay money for this,” and, “How do I use Steam’s refund process?”
Truly, this game has learned from legendary director and auteur J. J. Abrams as it creates a mystery box to last throughout the ages.
“That’s right. The game is about you mass murdering an oppressed peoples, but it does not stop there.”
After the game, you may be compelled to learn more about the lore, because of course you would. Fortunately, the game provides an in-depth explanation of the backstory of both the world, Zorgilon, and the main character, Matvey Ferini. It is here that any doubts about the game’s longevity and importance were quickly washed away. Zorgilon, I learned, was a planet rich in resources, humanity decided to colonize and exploit it. Unfortunately, the planet had a local populace, the Zorges. Like in the cinematic masterpiece for the ages, Avatar, the local populace did not really like the humans taking all their resources, but unfortunately the Zorges did not have a brave white man to save them (they are all orange). Instead, the humans decided to simply leave the planet once they were done with it, abandoning any colonists on the planet, who were powerless against the Zorge savages.
That is where you come in. Matvey Ferini, the brilliant engineer who worked in a prison, created a death machine to defend against the hordes. That is right. The game is about you mass murdering an oppressed peoples, but it does not stop there. Turns out the reason that you have to type out words is because each saw, all 90,000 of them (the game specifies this), has a word associated with it, and you typing out the word is summoning it. This is a canonical explanation for why you type out words (despite the main character having no discernible keyboard). This means that Ferini, in all of his wisdom, decided that instead of simply numbering the saw blades 1-90,000, he needed a word for each blade, and so he grabbed the only thing nearby, the thickest, most arcane medical dictionary imaginable, and went to work.
This also reveals the true nature behind the title. “Word Killer” does not refer to the killing of words but to words who are doing the killing. I have not seen such marvelous play on a title’s words since the neo-realist Italian masterpiece, The Bicycle Thief, where you found out at the end that the title was referring to the main character and not the thief who had stolen his bicycle. Clearly this game is built off of that legacy.
Such boldness has never before been seen in video games, and may not be seen again until the next campaign in the Zorgilon Chronicles is released. As we see in the campaign select screen, more is still to come, much to the anticipation of the masses.
I need to take off the satirical voice and be frank for a second (don’t worry, you can still be whoever you are).
I am sure this game was a good learning experience for its creator. The game works and has some basic design sense. And hey, I bet creating and putting in those MS paint drawings took a lot of work.
So, yay, you did it, you made a game!
But its presence on the Steam store is so baffling. This feels like someone took a refrigerator doodle to an art gallery and put a price tag on it. Sure that price tag is cheap, but it’s still weird, right? Why is this here and not on some flash website or something like that?
So yeah, not a good game, don’t play this, but maybe see if you can work adactylous into your normal conversational vocabulary.
(Also, if anyone knows an expert in balneology, HMU)