I’m tired. You, reading this right now, are probably tired. Tired is a constant state of being for most of us these days thanks to, you know, everything. Now, you can play a game that’s all about being tired.
Exhausted Man, the latest project from the Beijing-based developers at Candleman Games, is probably the most realistic game ever made. You play, naturally, as the titular energy-sapped protagonist, guiding him through an unfeeling world that cares little for his health or well-being. Using the WASD keys, you slither along the ground and even up walls to complete simple tasks made unbearably difficult by the main character’s weariness.
Exhausted Man plays out in distinct stages. First, you decide where to place furniture and other items in your dude’s room with the mouse. Then, you decide on a to-do list before he goes to bed. These objectives range from yoga positions, like situating your left hand above your right foot and holding for a few seconds, to rearranging furnishings.
As such, there’s an element of strategy in play. If the game asks you to move the bean bag chair away from the bed, for instance, do you have enough room to navigate your slippery, unmanageable body without too much trouble?
While the gameplay evokes memories of games like QWOP and Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy, relying on loose physics and unintuitive movement to impart a challenge, what really stands out, to me, about Exhausted Man are its visuals. Everything looks like it’s been molded out of clay, a realistic effect that (alongside the often-frustrating controls) imparts weight to the eponymous hero and his surroundings. As with other indie games, it’s great to see a studio really explore and experiment with unique aesthetics.
The Exhausted Man demo is playable on Steam as part of the digital storefront’s ongoing Next Fest now through tomorrow, October 7. The devs have yet to set a release date for this neat little game, so definitely check Exhausted Man out for yourself before it’s gone.