Pandemic Isolation – A Game Review

A screenshot from the game. Picture by: Pandemic Isolation/Screenshot

The world over the past 12 months has been in the grips of the Covid-19 pandemic. Which has caused some people to struggle with their mental health. So far we’ve looked at games which tackle mental health, but what about one game which is based on coping with your mental health while in isolation? 

*Spoilers for the game ahead*

Pandemic Isolation was released in 2020 by Maxim Arefiev. The game looks to provide an insight of life when having to remain in self-isolation due to the pandemic. Something which should hit close to home to many people. 

You play as a man who lives alone as the city he lives in enforces a stay-at-home order due to the pandemic. You need to battle to survive each day, fighting your bad mood, starvation and the virus itself. 

Starting off with a low number of resources and money, you need to budget and stockpile toilet roll and food in order to survive. As well as purchasing new forms of entertainment to help keep your mood high. To get money you can receive handouts and take on side jobs. Not keeping your food and mood bars up or getting the disease will ultimately result in the player dying. 

Throughout the game you have a decision to make, which can make or break your playthrough. Deciding to go to the shop for the neighbour results in you catching the disease and ultimately dying. You can unlock new characters to come live with you, such as a dog. While this provides a new form of entertainment, it causes you to go through your stockpile quicker. 

Making decisions is hard, typically you’d want to help your neighbour or family or friends but doing so damages you through the effects of the pandemic. And these decisions – despite keeping you safe – can negatively affect your mood.

An example of one of the choices you have to make in the game. Picture by: Pandemic Isolation/Screenshot

What the game does well is the way it shows how quickly your mood can change when you are isolated from the people you care about, having to make tough decisions to not only protect yourself and your family. At the scarification of your mood.

The background music is calming, but you need to pay attention to the sounds. If you get sick, the game will let you know as coughing will be heard in the background. 

Pandemic Isolation is available for sale on steam for £5.19. The game is simple and linear, but doesn’t have an ending. It keeps going with more choices to make every day. But see how far you can get!

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