PAX West 2018: The Missing: J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories

Friday, September 7th, 2018

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I’m not particularly familiar with SWERY’s work. I’m at least aware of some of the games, but I’ve never played any of them myself or even seen much of them. This puts me in a similar situation to Josh, who played SWERY’s other upcoming game The Good Life at PAX this year as well. The Missing: J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories was no different, but I decided to take a shot at it anyway at PAX this year. I got to play one of the levels in the demo myself, then since I was short on time SWERY walked me through the rest of the demo, showing me what kinds of level design and puzzles are in store for the game.

The Missing | Catherdral platforming

The Missing is a platformer that revolves around using protagonist J.J. Macfield’s various body parts to solve puzzles and progress. She’s immortal, meaning that even if all her limbs are detached and her body is cut in half she can still keep going, regenerate, and proceed as normal. As such, it creates a bizarre situation where it’s often a good idea to try hitting any hazards you find just to see what happens and whether it creates a situation that you’re able to use to your advantage. Traps like blades and razor wire will sever limbs for you to throw at things or use as counterweights, while later on in the demo there’s a wrecking ball that breaks J.J.’s neck and inverts gravity until she regenerates. It’s an interesting mechanic, one that kind of requires you to alter how you approach platformers by making traps something you can use, rather than something you simply need to avoid.

The Missing | Electrocution

The puzzles themselves seem like they’re well-made, making good use of the immortality mechanic. I would have liked to get a chance to play the wrecking ball area myself, rather than just watching SWERY play it, but unfortunately I was short on time and it likely would’ve taken longer than I had. The last level I was shown of the demo had J.J. escaping from a strange chrome monster, somewhat human-shaped and carrying an assortment of weapons, that relentlessly chased J.J. through the level. The monster legitimately freaked me out when it appeared, and apparently it’s recurring throughout the game, so that’s something for me to look forward to.

The Missing | Silver monster

I’m not ordinarily a fan of horror or horror-adjacent games (or things in general) aside from certain cases, but The Missing seems like it might be strange enough to be something I’d be interested in. I’m curious to see where the story goes, what other freaky monsters appear, as well as what else it does with the immortality mechanic. The gameplay is solid, although the somewhat slow movement takes some getting used to. If it seems like something you’d be interested in, The Missing will probably be worth checking out when it releases later this year on Steam, PS4, Xbox One and Switch.

About Chris Melchin

Chris is a computer science student who has been gaming ever since he knew what to do with a Super Nintendo controller. He's a fighting game player, with a focus on BlazBlue and Under Night In-Birth games. His favourite games include Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Persona 5, and Little Busters. He started watching anime in high school, and his favourite series is Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. He also writes Vocaloid music for his personal YouTube channel, and has a (slight) obsession with Megurine Luka.