Game Design Spotlight 5: No, Human


Format: iOS (Universal)

Developer: vol-2

Designer: Rolf Fleischmann

No, Human is a physics-based action-puzzle game, taking place during the latest conflict between mankind’s puny struggle for meaning and the universe. With your skillful finger, a delight in destruction, and some patience, you will demobilize the human presence outside of planet Earth in a joyful way.

No, Human is a physics puzzler where space-faring humans strive to conquer the far reaches of space … but the universe isn’t having any of that. Although God may not play dice with the universe, he apparently does play bumper pool. The player, cast as a malevolent universe, flings asteroids into humans’ spaceships, satellites, and space stations. The destruction of spaceships has never been so entertaining.

No, Human opens on asteroids spinning silently in space to Chopin’s Prelude, Opus 28, Nr. 4., which aptly sets up the game’s self-important 2001: A Space Odyssey-esque tone. An opening cutscene shows a bearded astronaut challenging the universe, “I will colonize you!” In turn, a toothed universe answers, “Oh, yeah?!” The game’s droll narrator (and constant commentator) tells the player that “then the universe threw a fireball at the human.” The player soon realizes that the narrator is talking to her as the tutorial begins. It’s an extremely clever way to pull the player into ...

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