1000xRESIST Review: Mystery’s Irresistible Pull

Maybe she's born with it. Maybe it's [REDACTED].
Edited by Kristi Jimenez

1000xRESIST, the debut game from Sunset Visitor, resists clean answers. The experience is twisting, layering, frequently confounding. Time, mechanics, and form jump backwards and forwards, then across to another tangent altogether. A memory. A song. A play. An impossible choice. If you are expecting a tidy, linear narrative, you will be frustrated. Good. That moment of uncertainty is what 1000xRESIST sustains best. It dares you to ignore. To look away. To skip. Is this where you stop?

Don’t misunderstand what I’m about to say: 1000xRESIST is the pinnacle of the once-derided walking simulator. It treats both words in “walking simulator” with equal reverence. You trod across the familiar contours of a concrete bunker. You pass through the strange disconnect of another’s memory.

And most thrillingly, you speed into the jaw-rattling hairpin turns of a simulated memory three times removed. You make dialogue choices and zipline across the shattered remains of what once was. What seems small will become earth-shattering in its repercussions.

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Pewter

You learned grace
was when mother forgave,
and your forgiveness was
not named grace but instead
obedience.

Resonance.

1000xRESIST review. Managerial Purple says, "Poetry seems like such a good idea until you have to read it."
Screenshot by Taylor Hicklen.

A Dangerous Gravity

In this strange future, sisters are named after their functions. You play as Watcher, the sister who is tasked with observing the sacred memories of the ALLMOTHER. She established the sisters’ genetic line and cared for them. Now, the ALLMOTHER lives on the other side of the tracks. If a sister works hard and does well, one day the ALLMOTHER will call them away on a train of their own.

Watcher is not easily lured by these certainties. Conflicting emotions presented in the ALLMOTHER’s past collide with her present knowledge. An ominous warning from Fixer, a loved one, pushes Watcher to action she cannot take back. It draws Watcher into the gravity well of uncomfortable questions. Who is the ALLMOTHER? Why do they live like this? These answers come at a cost.

Emerald

I know I’m still
grieving him because I pick
fights with language itself.
Today’s match? Me vs. “Peace Be Still.”

I’ve heard it all before.
“Taylor, it’s like the surface
of a calm lake.”
You’ve clearly never been
in a lake, asshole.
No lake is calm.
Under the surface is
a roiling, teeming
ecosystem of dirt and life and trash.

We sat at the edge of the dock
together on quiet mornings
laughing at old stories and watching
the birds dip down for
their first meal.

I never asked
“Is everything okay?”
I never asked
“Are you hurting?”
But I always
ALWAYS said “Love you, Pop.”
Maybe the rest was implied.

Anyway.
“Peace be still.”
A dimwit phrase.
Only a partial understanding.

Resonance.

1000xRESIST review. Watcher says, "I understand the words, but I don't understand the meaning."
Screenshot by Taylor Hicklen.

A Strand Loosens

It’s tempting to skim the more abstract parts of 1000xRESIST. Some players will. But I cannot diminish the contributions of the maddening, cryptic, elliptical asides. Modern pop culture treats a mystery like a jigsaw puzzle: something to be neatly put together and then put away.

1000xRESIST knows the older definition: a mystery is something I cannot ever truly know, no matter how many angles I observe, how many clues I poke and prod. I can only learn to make peace with my partial answers.

1000xRESIST is both loving tribute and worthy successor to past works. Obvious flashpoints are twisty narrative tragedy Kentucky Route Zero and the player-defying NieR: Automata. Dig deeper and older threads emerge. Christine Love’s uncompromising Analogue: A Hate Story flickers in my periphery, its structure and wry humor made three-dimensional.

The pulsing, paranoid undercurrent of Rez. The cruel unreality of Pathologic. 1000xRESIST invites them all to a communion. Break the bread. Drink from the cup. Pray.

Violet

First words are
precious, but first
questions are not recorded with
that same reverence.

A child’s questions are
looked upon fondly, laughing but
unnoticed is the gravitational
force of the first
time we look up
defiantly and ask
WHY.

Resonance.

1000xRESIST review. Studious Shell says, "Every word chosen means other words were omitted."
Screenshot via Taylor Hicklen.

The You That Remains

Watcher’s first communion teaches her how to manipulate time. The bottom left of the screen shows a readout with a number, a short description, and the approximate year.

Alternate times land on the number readout with a plink, sometimes in careful sequence. At others, they land with a percussive snarl. Press the left bumper and Watcher extends an arm out, the past warping into view. Press the right bumper and she lifts the other arm, moving one increment forward.

1000xRESIST has so many threads to follow. It isn’t afraid to use them to full effect. An innocuous statement can loop around to something raw and profound. As you plumb the depths, characters will bicker about how events played out.

Despite her presence in these foundational memories, Watcher doubts. The player will doubt too, watching another row of careful narrative stitches undo to reveal an open wound. These characters earn their scars.

Homing Birds

Another little injustice
of language: “Home is where
the heart is.” Trite but true.
I fend off another “wish we
could see you” from my grandmother
with all the grace
of ineffectually swatting a fly.

An acid response I somehow bite back.
“I wish you could see me too.” Not the Taylor
that was, the one that is.
A quantum Taylor whose heart
is irrevocably bound
five states away from you.

Though it hurts, I will always
know the way home.
Here with me,
not there with you.

Resonance.

1000xRESIST review. Mother says, "You have no idea what we have protected you from."
Screenshot by Taylor Hicklen.

There Is A Choice

1000xRESIST sounds dour on paper, but the talented voice cast gives it humor and life. Secretary (Micah Chen) and Healer (Lok Yu) are particular standouts, morphing as their characters reveal new edges and facets. Fixer (A. Yu) sings the lone lyrical number—first featured in a promotional trailer and released as pay-what-you-want on Bandcamp. Fixer’s Song is somehow even more gutting and fragile in context. I fully wept.

The game’s camera goes places most of its’ contemporaries cannot. It plays with focus, keeping ominous background objects just shy of clarity. The perspective shifts on a whim, flitting from third-person to first, an overhead view, a side view. Even in situations where you’re given complete camera freedom, Sunset Visitor commands the room, toying with scale and perspective. This space is not under your control.

Different Kinds of Light

We are taught that all
will find our purpose.
Most do. But the adrift
have to scrabble for a foothold.

Resonance.

1000xRESIST review. Principal says, "You will be so close to Her, you could draw blood."
Screenshot by Taylor Hicklen.

The Verdict: 1000xRESIST Is Truly Unknowable

Sunset Visitor’s debut stretches the clean lines of video game metacommentary into a concentrated ludonarrative taffy. There is no gotcha moment, to 1000xRESIST’s credit. The struggle for meaning is long but not fruitless. Characters slowly learn to survive in—and maybe even love—the fractured world they’ve been given. 1000xRESIST will leave you with questions, but ultimately the resolution is yours alone. The game is infinitely better for it.

Press SPACE To jump Review score 10

Masterpiece

ProsCons
Unforgettable twists and turns that reward your curiosity.Sharp subjects that pull no punches.
Stellar voice cast and camerawork.Obtuseness that will scare off the unadventurous.
Mechanics that reach the apex of “walking simulator.”I will never be the same again.
I will never be the same again. 

To see what each of our scores means, check out the Press SPACE to Jump Review Scale!

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Taylor Hicklen
Taylor Hicklen

Taylor is Press SPACE to Jump's community lead. He likes midrange JRPGs, fighting games, and Dicey Dungeons. Bonus points if there are good fonts. To contact him about your game or other professional inquiries, you can email him at pstjtaylor@proton.me.

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