The Gallery is an interactive movie or FMV game that tells two twists on the same hostage story in a London Art Gallery.
- Title: The Gallery
- Release Date: September 8, 2022
- Price: $14.99
- Suggested Audience Age: Rated M for Mature
- Availability: Steam, Xbox, PlayStation, Switch, iOS, Android
- Recommended for fans of: Crime Drama, FMV Games, and Fine Art
Geek to Geek Media was provided with a review copy of this title.
I am a fan of Five Dates and The Complex. When I saw Paul Raschid was back with another FMV I was instantly on board. I really love a good story and something about the FMV style always pulls me in.
Two Timelines, Similiar Stories
The Gallery tells the story of a portraiture art curator during times of national unrest in two specific periods of Britain's history. In both timelines, Argyle Manor's business is struggling due to the severity of the socio-political division felt throughout the country and each period's specific hurdles.
In 1981, following a female protagonist, the UK riots are in full force. In 2021 we follow a male protagonist. With Brexit and the pandemic, need I say more? In both timelines, you are playing as an art curator named Morgan, who needs an economic push to keep Argyle Manor afloat. Thankfully an opportunity presents itself for the Gallery to be the first to reveal the newest Nicky Dryden Oaks portrait exclusively for the weekend. Nicky is a Turner Prize-winning portraitist. This guarantees the eyes of the world would be paying attention to Argyle Manor.
In turn, this makes the Gallery a perfect target for yet another portrait artist, Dorian, to make a huge statement for change and find inspiration to paint a portrait again. Dorian sees that Morgan is just the right muse and Argyle Manor as the perfect backdrop. Upon agreement to allow Dorian to paint Morgan, we quickly learn there is far more at play here, and trying to excuse yourself from the session won't prove so easy.
In both stories, Morgan finds themselves held hostage and at the mercy of Dorian, who is threatening to bomb Argyle Manor unless their demands are met. The easiest demand? Allow Dorian to finish painting Morgan's portrait and give them the night to finish. Will you decide to comply with other demands and survive the night?
A Captivating Cast
I really enjoyed the split style in which this story is told. As mentioned above, you make decisions for the art curator in both timelines. Seeing the story told through two genders and two timelines was pretty captivating to watch. Each actor portrayed their version of the character wonderfully and how it was adapted to make sense for each timeline was clever. They had to have a blast shooting this one.
It was great to see such a diverse cast. It was written that any character could work with any gender identity and they played with that idea. I personally think it paid off. Don't think you get the same exact story twice. While they share a lot of the same dialogue, in most cases the feeling is much different than just taking in the circumstances of the period. Each side has its own unique troubles to navigate. You will be rewarded by just paying attention. I found a lot of enjoyment in discovering the similarities and differences between the two stories. So much so that I played through it several times.
Either side you choose, you do have a meter for the relationship built between Morgan and Dorian. This will move up or down depending on how well your answers or actions please Dorian. The “good” decisions are highlighted in green and the “bad” decisions in red. Keep in mind, that these decisions can cause harm to many others outside of the Argyle Manor as well. Can you keep Dorian happy though the entire evening and everyone around you safe?
Another nice thing about The Gallery is I didn't feel like there was a throwaway decision. All my choices helped or hindered in some way, with a nice call back for you to know where it went well… or where it went wrong. With the overarching story and many subplots specific to each timeline, you have plenty of choices to make and a story to uncover.
I wouldn't say that every decision is marked with huge deviations, but I found that each had an impact in some way. You won't be left to wonder whether a decision made affects the story as the game will tell you in the upper left corner of the screen directly after.
Or sometimes maybe it will tell you right in the center of the screen. I'll let you discover that one.
Nitpicky and Nitty Gritty
While I am gushing over this there are a couple of issues in The Gallery that did stand out. Some of the special effects could have used a smidge more love to be more fully blended with the setting. With the quality of everything around, it stood out.
It was also a little strange to see someone paint for an entire evening and manage to have their hands stay completely clean. Nitpicky? Totally. Neither was enough to take away the enjoyment of the story. But felt a little jarring in contrast with the rest of the shots for continuity. This could also just be a downfall of the genre and how much filming one can do.
The gameplay mechanics are standard. Throughout the experience, the player will be prompted on-screen to choose between two or three options. There is a timer, but this is easily turned off at the beginning of a run, as the game itself asks before it starts. You do get an end-game report telling you how many endings you have received, scenes you have uncovered, and the number of decisions made to get those results. There are 18 endings in total between the timelines. 12 for the female protagonist and 6 for the male.
My first full run, playing both timelines back to back, was 3.5 hours. I played with the timer on, so your mileage may vary. I also believe the run time will fluctuate a bit depending on your choices and the endings received. You may have a shorter or longer first run. With the different endings and scenes to unlock it leaves plenty of room for replayability. If you are like me, that means there is much more than 3 hours of game here.
I very much enjoyed The Gallery. An intriguing story told in a unique way with a talented cast to back up the intensity of the situation. Having played through it several times now on a hunt for achievements (the names of which are also pretty fun!) I am missing two. As I finish this review I am wondering how to connect those dots. To me, that wondering is a mark of a good FMV. I love when I'm left wanting to see all of the scenes and endings I can.
Oh, and if you are like me, The Gallery does give you the option to skip previously viewed scenes after the first playthrough, so happy hunting!
Laceya Finley is known for being a loud, boisterous individual with an unhealthy love for Bruce Campbell. Been a gamer since (wouldn’t you like to know), background in theatre and film, and is currently the co-host on the gaming podcast Super Mega Crash Brothers Turbo.