Variable State’s title offers a different way of storytelling, but relies heavily on unrelatable and abstract imagery
Like all art, gaming is full of copycats. First-person shooters used to be known as “Doom clones”. There are probably as many match-3 games as there are planets in No Man’s Sky. But some games are less copied than others, even when they impress critics and inspire a cult following. So it’s good to see a new game that’s unabashedly inspired by Blendo Games’ Thirty Flights of Loving.
Virginia may be longer than Thirty Flights, clocking in at about the length of a film, but it’s similar in form. It’s played in first-person, though the first scene begins with the player character in front of a mirror so you can see that she’s a woman of colour: Anne Tarver, newly appointed to the FBI. You play through a week in her life in the early 90s, as she and her partner Maria Halperin investigate the case of a missing child, in a series of short scenes.