Many modern indie games have gotten a bad rap from critics as being nothing more than “walking simulators.” You know the kinds, games set on giving you a unique mediated experience, free of violence or objective HUDs. Soda Drinker Pro seeks to change that misguided tradition for the better. How you ask? By doing the exact same thing—but by allowing you to drink one cool cup of soda while doing so. Can Soda Drinker Pro help quench your virtual thirst, or is it simply grasping at straws?
Soda Drinker Pro is solid proof beyond a doubt that a game can be funny based on gameplay, and gameplay alone. The entire game is based around a single concept—drinking soda. Now, this isn’t the kind of concept where the game gives you all these mind-bending new ways to drink soda. All you do is walk around in a first person view and drink a red cup of soda instead of shooting a gun or interacting with each stage. Where the game gets really interesting—and hilarious—is the environments in which to drink soda.
Each stage starts with a quick title screen and three-second clip of Soda Drinker Pro’s fantastic midi theme song and immediately drops you into a… “meticulously rendered” soda drinking environment. This ranges from the beach, the thick of some haunted woods in the middle of the night, and even a “weird room,” just to name a few of the early venues. Half the fun of the game is seeing what the more than one hundred different environments on display are, many of them actually suggested by fans of the original (and much shorter) incarnation of the game.
While drinking soda in each of these locations, a disembodied voice can be heard commenting on drinking the soda (presumably the player) and picking up the many floating rotating “bonus sodas”. These comments are an absolute a joy to hear, with many of them actually making me laugh out loud over the course of playing the game. I dare not spoil many of the fantastic one-liners, but it’s hard not to crack a smile the first time you hear “Man, I wish I could eat soda.” Often the voice is modulated or given disorienting effects to reinforce the surreal nature of the game. This is definitely one title you’ll want to play with headphones on, folks.
If there is one major issue with the game, it’s that the whole game can only be completed in one sitting. There is unfortunately no save feature in the game, so the only way to see all one hundred stages is to play it from start to finish in one go. A stage is completed once you finish drinking your soda, and if you kept the drinking button down, this takes about a minute to do. There will definite be some audacious players up to the task of seeing the game to the very end, but for some the joke may be fleshed out by the end of the first dozen stages or so. Trust me when I say that it definitely is a joke worth sticking out to the end—you will definitely be surprised with all the different locales and environments one can enjoy a tasty carbonated beverage. But do be warned, that for many, this journey may be a bit of a slow burn.
Soda Drinker Pro is the type of game that everyone owes it to themselves to play at least once. I’m sure many of you reading this review probably have one friend who already bought it and there’s a pretty good chance they’ve already shown it to you. This is the type of game that has to be seen to have its sheer ludicrous premise believed. The closest thing I can approximate Soda Drinker Pro to is the cult classic PS One title, LSD, an interactive dream simulator. This game is essentially a modern LSD 2… with soda.
After playing this game, I may honestly never drink a soda the same way again, and I certainly shall always ruminate on the existential nature of the drink that I hold within the cusp of my hand. It really is a one of a kind experience, and well worth the asking price of five dollars. And if you honestly don’t think five bucks is worth a soda simulator, then I suggest you go out and buy two cups of soda with that money instead and wonder what could’ve been. Because lord knows five dollars isn’t going to get you a soda and a Weird Room to drink it in.
[+Earnestly hilarious][+Five dollars is the perfect asking price][+A great game to share with friends] [-Controls are a bit awkward at first][-Slow pace and long length may bore some players][-The game wouldn’t let me eat the sodas]