What Happened – Review
Follow Genre: story-driven walking sim, psychological, horror, adventure, first-person
Developer: Genius Slackers
Publisher: Sourena Game Studio, KATNAPPE SP. Z O. O.
Platform: PS4, PC, XB1
Tested on: PC

What Happened – Review

Site Score
Good: easy controls, intriguing story, good visuals and sound
Bad: very little and linear gameplay, misrepresenting
User Score
(3 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 4.7/10 (3 votes cast)

*Warning* The game and this review contain heavy topics such as drugs, depression, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and other mental illnesses.

What Happened, a dark psychological horror-adventure took a brave step to shed light on mental health issues and tries to give the players an insight on the heavy-hearted side of human psychology. Explore the mind of a young American high schooler who is plagued with acute anxiety and depression. Guide Stiles through the corridors of his psyche and experience his struggle with dark thoughts through his own eyes.


The player gets the chance to walk in the shoes of high-school student Stiles, a teenage boy who is suffering from severe anxiety and depression following the sudden death of his father. As a result, Stiles is having a very rough time with school and his personal life. His mental health is spiraling down a black hole and his mental state is only getting worse and worse every passing day.

To escape his intrusive thoughts, Stiles mostly shuts himself up in a bathroom stall at school. Taking drugs, such as acid, whenever he can. But his behavior to others and the drug-taking shows to be counterproductive as he loses his best friend, his girlfriend and the bond with his mother along the way. He himself locks himself up alone with his loud aggressive mind, and the acid-high only livens his dark grisly illusions.

The player goes through different memories of Stiles’ current and past memories very vividly, discovering what he has and is still going through piece by piece. We get to meet – and lose – the people who have impacted his life the most, explore various locations that got stuck in his brain, and we are confronted by none other than his hard-grained mind that is always there.


It’s obvious that the game developers had a clear vision of how they wanted to portray the narrative. The main 3D Unreal Engine art style used to build the characters and environment is charming and quite well done. Making the visuals seem more qualitative and expensive than they really are. This fits perfectly with the cinematic intention that What Happened wants to bring to the foreground.

Mixing up the main style of the game with other styles was also an ingenious idea to narrate a certain memory of Stiles. For example, the player plays through memories from his past in a puppet theatre environment. There’s also another memory where Stiles is put into a cartoon-style room. This is a great way to break up the linear gameplay and emphasize certain situations and happenings in Stiles’ life.

Unfortunately, using such a 3D art style for cinematic purposes does have its downsides, especially in first-person gameplay. The constant camera view changes, combined with all the different light effects, view distortions, and motion blur can get extremely unpleasant for some players. The frequent shifts in the camera focus of the FOV could cause motion sickness and even headaches. Dragging down a good gameplay experience.


There are a lot of sounds to discover in each scene, taking up the immersion up a notch. From regular sound effects to atmospheric background music, it’s always on point, fitting the moment perfectly. The game also includes a voice to every character as you would have in any other movie you’d watch. Sadly, it’s unfortunate that most of the voice acting is quite sub-par, feeling forced and ungenuine.


In What Happened, the player plays in the first-person mode, looking through the eyes of our young high schooler Stiles. You explore the densely atmospheric world of his waking nightmares infused with distorted memories – which are extremely grim and gory; showing us dead bodies, attempts to self-harm with broken glass, and suicide by hanging – and you also get to have different interactions with various characters that have had a big impact in Stiles’ life. Unfortunately, “engaging” and “interacting” are exaggerated words to use for this game.

Most of the time, you just walk around and guide Stiles from cutscene to cutscene – which there are many of, which practically makes this game a walking sim. Occasionally, you open doors, search through drawers and change various lightbulbs in order to solve piddling puzzles. Doing all this is needed to advance in the game but they feel extremely useless. This seems more like a poor attempt to give us players more immersion. Most of the drawers do not even contain anything important, and opening doors or other small tasks feel so tedious that it doesn’t actually contribute to the narrative. The game does try and force you to be as active as possible in these areas of the game, as it could reward you with a good ending. The bad ending is pretty self-explanatory, given the game’s topic.

The upside to this very linear gameplay is how simple the controls are. What Happened gives us the option to either easily walk and look around using keyboard + mouse or using a controller for even easier gameplay. Too bad they held out on the options for other settings such as motion blur and FOV. More frequent and better placed save points in the game would have been appreciated.


Taking on such a delicate theme such as mental health is very admirable and brave. This subject needs to be highlighted more on any platform to create awareness and understanding. It’s quite important that topics like this get properly worked out. Unfortunately, this is not the case for What Happened. Even though the attempt is much appreciated, it lacks in a lot of areas. The game is too cinematic for its own good. There’s little to no actual gameplay, and most visuals feel more like it’s created for the dramatic effect just for the sake to shock us. We’re pretty much bystanders watching from the sidelines in Stiles’ story. That being said, the game is its own undoing for taking away its good intention of creating awareness and educating about mental health issues. What Happened, does not actually explore the given subjects well enough and is why it’s somewhat a case of false advertising. It ends up being far too long for a game, since there’s almost no gameplay, and the shock-value is poorly executed. The topic(s) could have been handled better, was it a more general approach in this scenario.

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Rating: 4.7/10 (3 votes cast)
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What Happened – Review, 4.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

“Keep your friends close, but your memes even closer”.

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