Review – Impostor Factory
I’ve been a huge fan of Freebird Games for several years now, with To the Moon and Finding Paradise being some of the very first games I ever reviewed for this site. Despite not having much with regards to gameplay elements, each of their games do guarantee the same thing: a compelling and emotional story. With Finding Paradise leaving off with such an interesting ending, I couldn’t wait until the next installment came out. Then the glorious day came when I heard about the game in the series being in the works: Impostor Factory. After numerous delays, it finally released much to my delight. However, it wasn’t quite the game I was expecting…
First and foremost, I want to address the story. Impostor Factory is not the sequel to To the Moon and Finding Paradise that many of us fans were hoping for. I want to tread lightly here as to not get into spoilers, but what you should know if you’re a fan of those other games is that Impostor Factory is centered around someone completely new. The other games focus on Dr. Rosalene and Dr. Watts who work for Sigmund Corp. and are tasked with uncovering the memories of their dying clients. Impostor Factory on the other hand, revolves around a man named Quincy who is invited to a lavish soiree at a mansion. Things immediately take a bizarre turn and Quincy is left wondering what’s going on around him.
This is where things get tricky, because while the vast majority of the game involves people you’ve never met before, the ending is what actually ties these games together. You don’t necessarily need to have played the other games before diving into this one, especially since Impostor Factory is so vastly different from the others in the series. However, I do highly recommend playing the other games first, since much of what is discussed at the end references them. You will still get an engaging and unique story out of Impostor Factory, but it will definitely be lacking some emotional impact if you’re not familiar with the others.
That being said, if you are a fan of Freebird Games other entries, then Impostor Factory might be hit or miss for you. Both To the Moon and Finding Paradise were sweet and silly games, based around doctors Rosalene and Watts delving into a near-death person’s mind in order to uncover their memories and give them a satisfying send off into the next plane of existence. Impostor Factory is a very different game from those. For starters, with Dr. Rosalene and Dr. Watts not being the central figures of the game this time around, there’s a lot of humor that missing from this installment, purely out of the fact that their hilarious banter is no longer present.
Impostor Factory takes a much more serious tone overall, and even attempts to border on the horror genre in the beginning. Unfortunately, this falls flat almost immediately, with it becoming evident that horror is not really Freebird Games’ strong suit. Thankfully, the horror aspect only lasts for a short while before returning to its deep and thoughtful comfort zone.
As much as I appreciated the attempt to change up the story formula, I have to say that I was really disappointed by Impostor Factory’s gameplay. Or I should say lack thereof? One of my biggest (and only) complaints with To the Moon was the fact that is had only a few extremely basic puzzles in between chapters, making the experience feel fairly linear. Finding Paradise addressed these issues, and gave the game more puzzles and items to interact with. I absolutely loved the changes that were made to that installment, which made it feel a bit more like an actual game. There were more puzzles and some widely varied minigames throughout the experience. It looked like Freebird Games was on the edge of true greatness.
Then, they took several steps back with Impostor Factory and got rid of every minigame and puzzle that had been present in the earlier titles. Now the game is basically a point-and-click visual novel. There are no consequences for different dialogue options (not that there are many of those anyway) and there are no puzzles whatsoever. Impostor Factory is purely about going where the game tells you and clicking on the only things that shine.
Visually, Freebird Games’ titles are quite beautiful, with some gorgeously well-crafted pixel art. Although, I found Impostor Factory to be somewhat more lackluster than the other games, mainly due to the fact that so much of it takes place in one location, the mansion, or has small vignettes set within large areas of either a black or gray screen. This is done by design, but it still makes certain sections a bit boring to look at. Luckily, the last act does provide some of the grandiose and vibrant imagery that can be found in their other games.
The sound design has always been an area where these games excel. Kan Gao, the head of Freebird Games, is also the composer behind each of their title’s soundtracks. Both To the Moon and Finding Paradise had some of the most poignantly beautiful musical scores I’ve ever heard in video games. The soundtrack in Impostor Factory isn’t quite as memorable as those others, but it’s still really good and sets the tone well.
All in all, I found Impostor Factory to be a bit of a mixed bag. While it wasn’t the sequel I was hoping for, it does still have its own intriguing narrative. It does get off to a slow start, but things pick up once you hit the second act and gets really compelling in the third act. You don’t necessarily have had to have played the other entries before starting Impostor Factory, but you will certainly get a lot more out of the experience if you are familiar with them first. I’m hoping this isn’t the last entry in the series (which has been rumored for a while), as there is so much greatness to be found in these games. With that being said, I’d really love to see their next game incorporate more puzzles and gameplay like they did in Finding Paradise.
Slightly less impressive visually than the other games, mainly due to the majority of the game taking place in one location or surrounded by large sections of mostly blank screen.
Impostor Factory is a step backward from To the Moon and Finding Paradise, with it removing all puzzles and optional interactable objects. This is as linear as it gets.
While the soundtrack is still good, it’s not quite as memorable as the OSTs in the other games.
Fun Factor: 7.0
With not a single puzzle present, Impostor Factory is incredibly linear and unchallenging. Thankfully, the story is interesting, especially if you’ve played Freebird’s other games.
Final Verdict: 7.0
Impostor Factory is available now on PC.
Reviewed on PC with an i7-9700k, RTX 2070, and 16gb of RAM.