The late 90s and early 2000s had a glut of poorly-made FMV games that were funny at the time and hilarious in retrospect. One of the most notorious of them was “Bad Milk,” a bizarre FMV-based puzzle game with an opaque plot and nonsensical puzzles. Like most people who recognize it, I’m familiar with the game only through reviews or playthroughs of the game more than a decade after its release. “Bad Water” is a parody of that game, updated with interactive fiction references.

Gameplay: The gameplay is a faithful parody of the original, with all that entails: obtuse controls, overwrought video sequences, and bizarre puzzles. The latter even includes the reversed audio and spinning-head combination lock of “Bad Milk.” It’s a great reconstruction of a terrible thing. 5/10.

Mechanics: The parody features the same weird menu navigation and incomprehensible puzzles of the original, and it would be similarly impossible to play without a walkthrough (or familiarity with the original game). Despite the difficult navigating through the game, it’s nice to see a more unusual format than the usual parser- or choice-based engines. 4/10.

Presentation: Despite the poor quality of the original game, quite a lot of work went into the parody, and all its custom audio and video assets faithfully recreates the style of the original. It’s undoubtedly completely opaque to players unfamiliar with “Bad Milk,” but it’s a thorough and well-executed parody. 7/10.

You might be interested in this game if: You’re familiar with “Bad Milk.”

Score: 5

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