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Flat Eye Review

Flat Eye Review

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need to know

what is it? Gas station management game
release date: November 14, 2022
Developer: monkey moon
Publisher: Primal Fury
Comment on: Nvidia GeForce GTX-970, Intel i7-4790K, 16GB RAM
multiplayer game? Do not
Association: Official website(opens in a new tab)

Many management games, whether they are as large as a Sim City or as small as a two-point hospital, often operate on the premise of efficiency. With the right management (that’s you), everything works perfectly. It’s an appealing fantasy, but one that ignores the contradictions inherent in the pursuit of profit. The corners that must be cut and the sacrifices that must be made to ensure the numbers continue to rise. Flat Eye isn’t a particularly great management game, but it’s more fun than many of its kind. It concentrates the tension between the desire for a perfect system and the contradictory demands of that system, producing something more than the sum of its parts.

As a remote manager working for the titular Flat Eye company, you will oversee the operation of the Iceland pit stop. Customers come to refuel and shop. Like the best/worst conglomerates, Flat Eye uses one business to support many others. They come for gas, they buy some groceries. Maybe a cup of coffee. Sooner or later, this small warehouse will offer everything imaginable, from quick meals to medical consultations. Why settle for one corner of the market when you can have it all? After all, Amazon started out selling books, but has since grown into…well, everything. Businesses have a bottomless appetite, and Flat Eye allows you to continually pursue expansion, new ways to reach customers, and new areas of business to grab.

Nisland

(Image credit: Raw Fury)

Admittedly, this is a charming little place. The Icelandic cold makes your warehouse seem like a cozy haven. The lo-fi visual style presents an understated dystopia, with bright colors and clean designs. I love tinkering with layouts, right down to installing little dividers between self-checkouts, or a welcome cardboard cutout character next to my personal data kiosk. Even knowing I’m a Weyland-Yutani Company or Walmart lackey, I still get satisfaction from expanding it.

Your pit stops are handled by a clerk that you micromanage, queuing tasks for them and making sure they keep shelves stocked and all your store’s modules work. At first, it was a simple and frankly tedious task. However, once the service offered by your little pit stop grows, you’ll have more ideas to consider. You must create devices and services that complement each other while maintaining three primary resources: electricity, biomass, and data. For example, you’ll use biological matter — excrement — from a smart toilet to turn it into food. I’m sure it won’t appear in the ad. Both devices require electricity from a geothermal generator (unique to Iceland), and the smart toilet can also provide data to a self-service kiosk. Different modules have different needs, so you need to keep them overlapping to have a working workstation.

It’s not particularly difficult, but as space or money becomes limited, you have to prioritize. Are you innovative? Are you focused on maximizing sales by reaching as many people as possible through the checkout? Or do you branch, split your store to generate revenue from dozens of different services?

(Image credit: Raw Fury)

Whichever you choose, it will quickly become apparent how thin this employee is. Self-checkout is ridiculously fast, and most other devices aren’t much better. A simpler game would allow for clever layouts to make up for this. Flat Eye isn’t that kind of game. Conversely, no matter how cunning you are, you can’t stop things from breaking or keep customers happy. At least, not without getting your employees into trouble.

Burnout isn’t the only threat to employee health. They will get hurt. They may die. Repairs come with an increasing risk of accidents, and your staff can suddenly have an unfortunate end. As far as the game’s system is concerned, it doesn’t really matter. You can hire someone to replace them. Business moves on. Humans are just fuel for the engine of business. The entire sequence of events from death to hiring is conveyed through cute company pop-ups, because there is no company that can’t repackage to clean up their image.

They will get hurt. They may die.

While the visuals and design do a good job of conveying Flat Eye’s theme, the clear narrative blocks feel more clunky. Throughout the game, key customers (custom NPCs your shop assistants can talk to) will enter the station. During these encounters, you can continue to micromanage your employees or let them choose what to say. These moments consist mostly of eccentric folks elaborating on their vision of Flat Eye or the (moderately) alternate state of decline of 2022 in which things are (slightly) worse than our world. The writing is a bit bland, and none of the dialogue options are particularly exciting. To make matters worse, while the one-time clerk serves the game’s larger theme, it leaves these narrative sequences without any anchors. The clerk is not a character – certainly not someone you can invest in – and none of your interactions seem to really affect the outcome.

These clients may be interesting, but in general, they are too skinny to be noticeable: you can read all kinds of archetypes like a book. Their appearance and interaction are largely related to the introduction of new services or items in the repository, and seem to be designed to provide additional context to each device. Instead, the message they spell out is preferably subtle and understated. Anxiety about what’s really going on is far more powerful than a disgruntled eco-artist walking by and telling you “the company is bad.” It comes in exchange for nuance…well, I’m not sure what it gets in that deal. It’s a shame, because it’s a good idea to break up the narrative segments that manage the monotony, and it’s just disappointing how dull these sequences are.

human negligence

(Image credit: Raw Fury)

Along with these human NPCs, you’ll have to deal with the AI ​​that secretly runs Flat Eye as it tries to guide you toward its goals—big goals involving the future of humanity. Not evil at all. The sequence of their monologues in a speech, which they use as a cover to talk to you, was initially a new thing, but they quickly became obstacles for me to press the skip button to move past.

There’s also a messaging service in your manager’s desktop interface where you can chat with other people in your company. These chats are more interesting simply because there is more at stake. You can hurt or disrupt others, and your limited dialogue options paint you as someone who is exploitative of those around you at best or complicit at worst. When a colleague says they don’t understand how you got past them so quickly, even though you’re so new to the company, you can either point to luck as a reason, or just argue that it’s just meritocracy. No matter what you choose, you can’t really help this colleague with their situation. You benefit from a power structure, but you have little power yourself. Even so, these conversations are nowhere near as impactful as the management portion of the game, as they once again illustrate the more effective ways to say nothing.

Flat Eye definitely has its problems in the long run. To motivate you (or provide an opportunity to rebel), you are assigned a daily quota. In addition to customer satisfaction and revenue, these quotas also affect your daily performance evaluation. The better you do, the sooner you can get new technology and upgrade your station. Even when I was most focused, progress was fairly slow, and new ideas weren’t introduced fast enough to avoid boredom. Trying to emulate similar games for satirical purposes, and to expose the reality that these games are often shut out of, Flat Eye forgets to emulate the depths of their management systems.

(Image credit: Raw Fury)

Flat Eye’s system served its narrative well for a few hours, but in the end tedious won out. All the hectic work does make me feel like a clerk running a cluttered store, but with this kind of work really done, I’m not thrilled to go back to all this rote work. Even while advancing its theme, your warehouse will inevitably go into disaster due to profiteering, and Flat Eye fails to provide an engaging hook beyond its initially valid review. There’s not much to say until the story draws to a close, leaving players with a fairly simple little management game that doesn’t offer enough customization or systems to tinker with to produce anything engaging in its own right.

I totally agree with Flat Eye’s narrative goals, and in many ways it does succeed. Sadly, these effective devices are marred by tedious writing and NPC interactions, or become a bit drab due to the decline of their core game loop. For most of its length, though, the Flat Eye forced me to keep tinkering with my little gas station. The ambience is strong enough that I can recommend it, but with some caveats worth noting. Flat Eye could have overcome its narrative flaws if its management system had more depth; and with more engaging dialogue sequences, it could have made up for its basic structure. It has both, which might be something special.

Still, I like flat eyes. Even with unrealized potential, I still like to make my little pitstop in the middle of nowhere. Here’s a fun, darkly entertaining corporate business simulator, though it lacks real narrative intrigue. Everyday woes will only inevitably bring you down.

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Bart Thompson
Bart is esports.com.tn's List Writer . He is from Houston, Texas, and is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in creative writing, majoring in non-fiction writing. He likes to play The Elder Scrolls Online and learn everything about The Elder Scrolls series.