Say No! More has an excellent trailer. The unique say-no mechanic, with superbly overblown results; the ’90s tech aesthetic; the over-the-top Hogan-esque instructor – what’s not to like? There’s nothing not to like. But there’s also not a lot left for the game, and sadly what works in the two-minute trailer isn’t sufficiently developed to sustain a two-hour game.

Much is promised by that say-no mechanic: you learn different ways to say no (heated, cold, lazy, wacky) and ways to boost the no (laughing, clapping, nodding, hmm-ing). But the game demands no strategic use of these whatsoever – any old no will do in almost every situation.

Movement is all automatic, so it’s just a case of pressing a single button to say no to anyone who talks to you. And there aren’t any meaningful choices to be made along the way: you can choose to not say no to friendly colleagues, but those scenarios are clearly signposted – plus it doesn’t seem to matter either way.

There’s some mileage initially in blasting noes at unreasonable coworkers, wreaking enjoyably improbable destruction as you go. But the novelty wears off, which means that the linear narrative is left to sustain the runtime.

The writing and voice-acting is a mixed bag. There are some great lines and some superbly exaggerated performances, but also some very clunky dialogue and awkward delivery. Is it intentional? I’m not sure, but it’s not consistently funny enough to keep the later chapters from dragging.

The game clearly has a message about workers’ rights, and more generally respect for other people, but the game lays it on pretty thick – one sequence is close to a lecture – leaving little to interpretation. There are a couple of nice twists, but with no part to play in influencing the narrative, I wasn’t particularly invested.

There’s a lot of craft and imagination in Say No! More, and I fully expected to be singing its praises. So it’s disappointing to have to conclude that it’s all in that excellent trailer, making it difficult to recommend the game itself.

Say No! More is out now for Switch (reviewed), PC and iOS.

SCORE
5