It takes a lot of moxie to name your product using only one word. Especially when that one word is an adjective. For example, if you name your game "Scary," well, it had better be or the reviews will be frightful. If you name your game "Funny," then it goes without saying that the audience better be rolling on the floor with laughter. So a product named Weird had better be, well, weird.
Now I've seen a lot of weird things in my short time on this earth. I've seen petite, suburban women turned into shameless, drooling hussies at the merest mention of a new adventure or RPG game. I've seen a young man willingly eat liver and onions for dinner without the threat of imminent death from his parents. I've even seen PC Gamer praise an adventure game (Although this might be more on the order of a miracle than it is weird!) But I've never seen anything like Weird.
If anything, Weird harkens to the disjointed imagery created by the Residents in their excellent products Bad Day on the Midway and Freak Show. Not really a game, but more an exploration of the paranormal and supernatural, Weird is a disjointed attempt to combine Myst-like puzzles and graphics with a journey into the world of unexplained phenomena. Weird is basically a reference CD or encyclopedia presented in a 3D environment similar to Myst.
Your excursion begins in a long hallway with doors at either side. The doors that will open lead into areas that reveal snippets of paranormal gossip: does the Loch Ness Monster really exist, can man see into the future, has Britney Spears had breast augmentation? Touching an exhibit presents further evidence to support the myth: a newspaper clipping, a video interview with an eyewitness or an audio recording. Weird provides a wealth of information as you explore fifteen virtual environments. Artifacts, symbols, statues, and exhibits are scattered throughout the different domains ofWeird, and each holds its own self-contained story.
What about the doors that won't open? Well, this is where the puzzles come into play. Many inaccessible areas of the Weird domain can only be entered once a puzzle has been solved. Some of the puzzles are as simple as Simon, and others like the Inca Pyramid Puzzle (you must move stacked pyramid pieces from one side to the other, one piece at a time, but you can't place a large piece on top of a smaller piece) are simply deceptive. Those who are tone-deaf be forewarned: there is a two-part radio puzzle that has over 1,000 different combinations.
Is there a point to all of this? Not really. It is meant to be information presented as fun. The information is presented in a one-sided fashion; never are there any counterpoint arguments against any of the anomalies presented. It is meat and potatoes for devotees of the supernatural. Presented the way it is, Weird can be very addictive, but it can also be very frustrating for those with little patience.
Nothing special, but fun nonetheless, Weird is a nice diversion when your gray cells are frazzled from intense puzzle solving. Just be prepared to put aside your skepticism.
Final Grade: C
If you liked Weird:
Watch: Ripleys Believe It or Not
Read: Weekly World News