Helpless is a small adventure and survival game developed by Bonne Journée Studio, a Montreal studio made up of 22 graduating students. The game was released on March 10, 2023 on Steam and features 3 short levels, for a total playtime of just under an hour.
The game is available in French and English, although there is no dubbed voice: the entire scenario is in the form of text displayed on the screen. The game is suitable for a young and beginner audience and does not require any manipulation of the 3D camera. Two difficulty modes are offered, one of which makes the environment passive and therefore allows free exploration, without the possibility of failure.
Helpless takes place in a post-apocalyptic and desert landscape. The player embodies the character of a young boy who lives with his sick mother in a motorhome that drives on a highway. One day, a mechanical problem forces mother and son to stop on the side of the road. The battery is dead, so the mother will have to go to town the next day to try to find a new battery. However, the mother’s condition deteriorates and the son, anxious to help his mother, decides to go to town without her to find the battery. A touching story follows, while the young boy shows his mother that he knows how to fend for himself, and that she can be at peace with his imminent departure.
The game features 3 distinct levels: City, General Store, and Scrap Metal Metal. The character of the little boy must explore the levels and discover various items that are scattered there: a card, a candy, a magazine, a stuffed animal, etc. During his exploration, the boy meets a dog, who becomes his companion. After each level, the boy returns to the motorhome and can show these items to his mother, who offers a little anecdote or story related to each item found. There are no enemies: the only difficulty is posed by the scorching sun. The player must stand in the shade of structures and objects and run to quickly get out of the sun, otherwise he may suffer a fatal sunburn!
Helpless is a cute little game, which has a touching story and a visual style reminiscent of old consoles. It is a brilliantly realized project that plays out like watching a short film. The music is nice and some details throughout the game cause a bit of introspection. The game is not difficult, but the player remains anxious to avoid the sun, which requires good concentration and forces them to be observant. All in all, it is a great success. Much is said in a few words; storytelling is an amazing feat. It is an experience that, remember, is free, and worth downloading.
Images are a property of Bonne Journée Studio.
A PC key has been provided to us by the publisher for review purposes, but this does not influence our opinion of the game.