Indie games, as a whole, seem to have issues regarding user interfaces. I suppose a lot of developers don’t consider it until last minute. Monsoon Lab however, integrated their choice of UI into their story and their mechanics. Sara is Missing is a horror game that take place entirely within a stranger’s phone. You’ve found a phone belonging to the titular Sara, and you’re tasked with investigating what happened to her. Most of the data on the phone is either corrupted or encrypted, forcing you to piece together what happened from bits and pieces. It’s interesting and immersive, especially when playing on an actual mobile device. The first time a character called me actually caught me by surprise.
Minor spoilers follow
The biggest complaint I have with Sara is Missing is that the choice to base it around a mobile phone, something which we use everyday, doesn’t mesh particularly well with the breaks from reality that happen later in the game. The interface grounds you in something familiar, but the story eventually leads into the supernatural. I personally found that it took me out of what the game had set up getting me immersed in. By the end, it felt less like an interesting mystery, and more like an interactive creepypasta.
Sara is Missing is an interesting idea that unfortunately falls a bit short. Enjoyable, but not life changing.