Sally’s Law marks another mobile title coming to a home system, this time on Steam. I’m not against mobile games, per se, but they do have to offer something of substance for me to accept them as something for myself. If I had played Sally’s Law on mobile, I think I’d have been content. Luckily, I got the chance to play this on Steam with my preferred method – a controller.
The story of Sally’s Law is a sad one. Sally’s father is critically ill and she has to make her way back to her childhood home to see him one last time. We see both characters at various stages in their lives played out with each telling their side of the same story, on how Sally should have been raised. You play as both Sally and her father through each level, but the duality isn’t just in gameplay because it’s also shown from a story perspective. Sally feels she should have been raised a certain way and her father feels what he did was right. Throughout the tale each speaks on what has happened in their lives from childhood to the present, offering their take on what they feel should have been how each person lived their life. I don’t have children, so from that aspect, I can’t relate specifically, but I can certainly feel the emotional beats and understand how this could possibly give actual parents even more emotion throughout the story, especially if they’ve gone through something similar. It may be odd for some to grasp that a casual puzzle game can feature a “mature” story, but it’s not abnormal for me. I appreciate the effort that goes into bridging those gaps and feel it works well here.
There’s not much in the way of confusion when it comes to the controls of the game. As you can see, it’s basically one button for each character. Sally moves on rails, meaning she is moving the whole time and the only way she stops is if she hits a wall or falls down the dreaded “death pit”. All you need to do with her is jump. The father, by contrast, just moves where you move him, he can’t jump and has a specific purpose to his movements, which I’ll let you find out for yourself because it’s story related. Works very well with buttons, obviously, but that said you can definitely see where the touch screen aspects were a focus.
Graphically the game is pretty basic, but that’s not a bad thing here. I very much enjoyed what was offered with the simplicity. The art design of not only the backgrounds and platform sections but also the 2 character models are really nice to look at and change depending on story situations, which is also appreciated and welcomed, especially the father if my eyes and brain served me properly. Again, story related, so I’ll let you find out for yourself.
The sound design is another of simple design, and the effects and ambient noise are fine, but where I take issue is the music itself. I can’t be sure 100% but it almost sounds like the same song is playing the entire game, but if not, every song sounds so much like each other it may as well have been the same. I would have really liked more variety, or at least had the style switched up every now and then. I get that the devs were going for a targeted mood, but it could certainly have been achieved with alternating music tracks.
So as I said, the controls work well, but it’s not all gravy. Sally can only jump, and with that, the button you use to do so can be held down to have her constantly jumping upon landing. This can sometimes cause issues where you need to hop over pits in succession. It’s not a huge issue, but one that can crop up in the later levels if you aren’t careful, though sometimes you have no choice but to feel out the pace. On top of this, there were definite times every couple of minutes where framerate would drop or halt and it’d cost you a restart, but since there’s really very little in the way of penalties, it wasn’t as big a problem as it could have been. Levels aren’t very long, and they’re broken up into sections that act as checkpoints, so you don’t really have too far to go to get back to where you faltered.
There’re not many options, and no performance settings other than generic screen size, etc. (the system requirements aren’t high in the slightest), so the framerate issues do bother me a bit, but, in the overall sense, it’s not a major issue. It can be ignored. Overall, the performance and controls work fine together and it’s not really a big concern. The main complaints I have with the game are that it’s too easy and it’s too short. Being a mobile game focused on story, I can understand why, but to a point. I still would have liked it to at least be a bit tougher. Nothing in the game made me stop for more than a split second to figure out and the only real screw ups were of my own doing, but once you understand the dual nature of how the game plays, you can immediately rectify that. For the price of the game, a few hours to beat it doesn’t seem too bad, so, maybe I’m just being nitpicky with that.
There are 20 Achievements to collect and while the main story will take you about 3 hours to tackle, if you want to complete the list you’ll need to collect photos within the levels to do so for most of the remaining Achievements not related to beating the game. The nice thing about the collectibles is that they unlock new costumes for the pair to sport, 8 in total (16 if you count each person) if my memory is correct. So if you want to see them in some new attire, a couple possibly relating to the holidays, it’s another carrot at the end of the stick for you.
Sally’s Law is a play on Murphy’s Law, because, with her law, nothing goes wrong, unlike Murphy’s. However, Sally’s has a specific reason for that, and it’s a touching one. I enjoyed my time with this family, helping Sally get to her dad one last time, at all costs. Nothing would stand in her way. Though short, that means it doesn’t overstay its welcome, but in this case, it’s both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, there’s satisfaction in the completion and you don’t get bored, on the other, you don’t have much incentive to replay it unless you fall in love with the story or are a completionist. In the end, it’s really up to the individual player to decide to go back or not, but before that, this is still a game worthy of being in your library if you’re a puzzle game fan. A sad, yet touching story with simple mechanics and puzzles for a good price. You could do so much worse.
Sally’s Law is out now on Steam for $3.99. A copy of the game was generously provided by our friends at Nanali Studios .