No Players Online

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a game by Papercookies
Platform: PC
Editor Rating: 8/10, based on 1 review
User Rating: 9.0/10 - 2 votes
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See also: Quest Games, Horror Games, First Person Shooter, Co-op Games
No Players Online
No Players Online
No Players Online

There’s something odd going on with No Players Online. What might seem like a short indie horror game, at first sight, hides an unusually complex alternate reality game within, luring players to solve the game’s many gloomy secrets. This is not your everyday horror FPS, even though the developer did an amazing job disguising an art project like one.

Most players will surely play through the game’s short main section once and forget about it. However, for those completionists who dare to experiment with what a game might be hiding, there’s a whole different game waiting for them in No Players Online.

An Ode to the Multiplayer Map

Gamers who grew up waiting in the empty multiplayer lobbies of games like Counter-Strike or Unreal Tournament know full well how eerie those game’s maps could be. There’s something unsettling about the stillness of an empty multiplayer map: you never feel like you’re truly alone in them, but you just don’t want to find out who else could be there with you when you’re supposed to be alone.

No Players Online captures the spirit of those early days of LAN gaming perfectly in its small map. Players move around in what seems to be a single connected hallway and two garden areas. There’s not much to explore here – it’s just a short walk from point A to point B. The truth, however, is much scarier than that.

The first time you play the game, you’re tasked with ‘Capturing the Flag’ of the enemy team. The thing is, you’re alone on the server, so don’t expect much opposition. That said, as you retrieve the enemy’s flag, you’ll start to notice that everything might not be as simple as it seems.

An Iceberg of a Game

Don’t take No Players Online at face value. What lurks hidden in the game’s code is much more interesting than any basic horror game out there. In essence, there are two very different games included here: the first one is the aforementioned FPS ghost thing, and then there’s the utterly complex ARG component.

Much like Doki Doki Literature Club, the game gets a lot darker as you dig through its files. What’s more, you can’t even play the game more than once if you don’t experiment a bit with the game’s mechanics. Once you’ve concluded No Players Online the first time, every server will appear to be offline, barring you from trying the game again.

We’ll let you figure out for yourself what to do in this situation, as scourging through the internet to make sense of what’s happening in No Players Online might be way more entertaining than the actual ‘game’ itself.

Is This a Game?

While it fits all the checkboxes for an experimental indie title, No Players Online is hardly a game in its own right. If you go in blind and expect an FPS horror experience like so many other Slender clones on the market, then you’ll be sorely disappointed.

On the contrary, if you’re a fan of ARGs and digging through files, then you’ll have a blast with No Players Online. This is more an art showcase than a proper game, and that’s fine too. Just be ready to use Google a lot, and sharpen your deductive skills appropriately before playing.

8

No Players Online is a seemingly simple horror game that becomes so much more as you spend some time fiddling with it. Don’t expect your ordinary FPS gameplay on it, though.

Pros:

  • Properly eerie atmosphere
  • Neat retro aesthetic
  • Great sound design

Cons:

  • Scares could have been better paced
  • Relies too much on the ARG to make sense

Download No Players Online

PC

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

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PC Screenshots

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