Losing a mobile phone has to be one of the biggest first-world problems, but it becomes an entirely different ball game when its owner also disappears off the face of the planet. Anna's smartphone has just been delivered to your door, and in Simulacra, you'll need to work out what has happened to her.
Taking place entirely on the device itself, you'll gain access to various apps from the home screen as well as the typical messaging options, images, and videos. Working alongside her contacts and the matches Anna has made in a rip-off of Tinder is essential to making any progress, with cross-referencing required across multiple applications to figure out the next step. Multiple-choice responses are used to fuel your conversations with those willing to help, while light puzzle-solving digs deeper into Anna's private life.
Interaction is limited to anything you can do on a mobile phone in the modern era so it’s the narrative that ensures you stay engaged. Five different endings and multiple routes to those conclusions ensure each four-hour playthrough feels fresh, while the premise itself does a good job of setting up the events headed your way.
The game pitches itself as FMV horror, and while the experience does incorporate those two elements the more you play, it never amounts to anything more than cheap jump scares and creepy episodes of breaking the fourth wall. It's effective enough the first time, but diminishing returns weaken the tactic dramatically. The same can't be said for some of the horrific voice acting, however, which is cringeworthily terrible on almost all fronts. Although, Simulacra offers just enough of an intriguing, narrative reason to put up with it all.