That title screen is nice and I'm pretty sure the music plays in time with the words "de-lic-ious sau-sa-ges", which I can appreciate.
Honestly, I don't think I've ever been as frustrated with a game as I am with Stephen's Sausage Roll. This is a game with the word 'sausage' in the title. A game in which you play as someone equipped with an oversized cooking fork who must move gigantic sausages around grids. It sounds ludicrous. Wacky. Fun. It most definitely isn't fun. I think it might have made me forget what fun feels like.
Thrown onto a bizarre island with no real clue as to what's going on or why you're there (maybe there is a story, but so far I'm yet to see one and the game doesn't need one), you awkwardly (thanks to the controls that I'm still trying to get my head around a few hours in) shuffle around and then wander over a fork icon. This loads a puzzle in which you must successfully grill all the sausages on the screen.
Each time a sausage is pushed it rolls 180 degrees, and you must grill each side once - twice and it's burnt and you've failed. This sounds simple. Kind of like how walking to the local shop sounds simple. But it isn't. Not at all.
Imagine you walk like Chris from the original Resident Evil, the pavement is split into squares, the pavement isn't a pavement at all but a tiny island with barely any room to move, and every time you move you fuck everything up. And you've got to grill sausages while trying to remain sane. It's impossible to play Stephen's Sausage Roll and not feel like the world hates you.
I'm not even sure why I'm writing this now. I've played for about two hours and managed to solve two puzzles. Two. Yet I feel I've hit a brick wall. I love sausages and I thought I was very fond of puzzle games, yet even the background music to Stephen's Sausage Roll is now enough to trigger some kind of negative response. I really don't want to play this game any more. And it looks like it was made on the Net Yaroze.
What I want to say is this: I'm sure a small percentage of people will find Stephen's Sausage Roll to be the best game ever created, so clever in its puzzle design that each victory feels like an enormous achievement. I can understand that - I got fairly close to 100 percenting The Witness - but that game has nothing on this. This feels designed to annoy, frustrate and piss off almost everyone who comes into contact with it. If you love that, brilliant. I don't. I've had enough.
I went back to have another go, because for some unexplainable reason I felt I had to. The game now holds something over me and I'm not sure I'll be able to enjoy Toad in the Hole again until I at least put a decent dent in the puzzle count. An extra 30 minutes didn't prove to be all that useful, but I did solve another puzzle, meaning I'm now three down out of god knows how many - probably 8 billion or something.
I'm not going to lie: I didn't want to play Stephen's Sausage roll when I got into work today but I knew I had to. Not only to give the game a fair shake, but also to settle a score inside my head. I'm pretty smart most of the time, yet this game makes me feel like I've walked into an antiques dealer, riding a bull while also having a 10-foot pole mounted onto my chest, my every move causing untold pain and misery, it all only coming to an end once I find an object I don't even know I'm looking for.
I booted it up and I had a tinge of hope. 'Today will be different,' I internally mused. It wasn't different. 20 minutes later I shouted at everyone in the office, pleading with one of them to come over and have a go. I had to know it wasn't 'just me'. Alice stepped up.
To cut to the end of a 25-minute story, the solved puzzle count still sits at three. Alice certainly got close to solving one, but those sausages are dastardly and I got the distinct sense that she wanted to drive a burnt chipolata through her heart by the end of it.
I don't know what happened but I solved three more sausage island puzzles in about 20 minutes. It felt great, but then I hit a massive brick wall again. It's hard to explain why I find Stephen's Sausage Roll so draining, but I think it's down to a lack of learning. No doubt someone will tell me that the game does indeed do this, but I'm not getting any sense of making progress in terms of how I approach puzzles. I have next to no understanding of methodology other than the basics. In The Witness (sorry for bringing it up again) I felt like I was getting smarter after every puzzle. Here I may well be losing brain cells!
I'm so confused. Part of me wants to shout about how much I hate Stephen's Sausage Roll. And it's a real strong, focused hate. But I'm also thinking about playing it some more. I have absolutely no idea if you are going to like this game. Good luck if you decide to give it a chance.