Stilstand | Nintendo Switch Review
Updated: Nov 18, 2021
Stilstand, developed by Niila Games and published by Nakana Games is a dark and abstract interactive graphic novel with hand-drawn art work. It is currently available on Windows PC, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch, and for the purpose of my review I was playing the Nintendo Switch version in handheld mode.
Stilstand is an abstract look into a young woman's life who appears to be socially isolated and battling everything that comes with that sort of isolation. The game covers this unnamed woman's summer living in Copenhagen, battling with her anxieties and insecurities. We see her attempting to conquer these insecurities by opening herself up and going to parties or dating to try to overcome these issues and we see the internal struggle of these things throughout the dialogue. Stilstand is quite short and only took me about an hour to complete so for that reason I’m trying to tread carefully when describing the story because it would be very easy to step into spoiler territory.
Whilst the story sounds quite dreary and depressing; Stilstand is very relatable as someone who has always lived a socially isolated life - mostly by choice, sometimes not so much - and I could relate very closely to a lot of the struggles depicted in the game. Thanks to the internet, I know I’m not alone in this and in particular these last few years even more people will understand these struggles on a deeper level and in a way that they may never have experienced before so Stilstand has an almost cathartic feel to it, reminding people that being lonely isn’t a solo struggle, everyone gets it and it's a normal emotion that needs to be addressed like every other one.
Whilst the story itself is very dreary and incredibly relatable with the way it handles the topics in question, there is a fair amount of wit and humour to be found throughout and whilst the humour is there, it doesn’t detract from the realness of the woman's emotions or downplay the struggles in any way which was really nice because these sorts of topics aren’t something that should be mocked.
The artwork is all hand drawn and looks like it was all with a ballpoint pen; because of this Stilstand felt very unique and feels like it has its creators' own unique stamp on every single scene. I also feel like the art style served as yet another mechanism to convey the story. Alongside the visuals, I also should note that the soundscape is excellent as well and really helped to drive home the points. At some points the musical background became deathly silent which built tension and then when the character was venturing out to attempt to break the funk she was in, the music became more lively and upbeat. Everything felt like it was serving its own purpose to drive the story forward and support the motifs that were being discussed.
I feel like Stilstand highlights some incredibly important subject matter that is still swept under the rug all too often. Whilst mental health discussions are becoming much more mainstream and open, I feel like there’s still not enough said regarding isolation from society; whether that be by choice or not. If this pandemic has done anything it has taught people that nobody is immune from feeling lonely and isolated and Stilstand absolutely hits the nail on the head with it. I would have liked a slightly longer play time and maybe some of the choices you make throughout to have an effect on the story so that there would be some replayability, however in and of itself I really enjoyed and appreciated Stilstand and the message it conveyed and the ways in which it did that.
Lj’s Rating: 3.5 crazy cat ladies out of 5.
For more information on Stilstand please use the following links...
Many thanks to Nakana Games for the Review Key.