Want a nice, sort-of-depressing visual novel about Communist Poland to round out the year? Do you want it to be free? Of course you do.
In Martial Law, you play a lower class man who’s left behind by the government of Warsaw Pact Poland. Trying your best to take care of your daughter, he wants to try and have a better lift. It’s a classic visual novel setup, with plenty of endings to find and issues to solve and/or not. I called it depressing earlier, but there’s a happy ending if you want to go looking for it.
It’s also pretty educational, with lots of information about big-C Communism in 20th century Poland. Per the developers, it’s meant to “visualize the realities of Polish families back then, their ways of thinking and understanding the world.” I’ve read a bit about the era, but I still learned a lot of neat stuff while playing.
Martial Law was first made as a game jam entry, but later extended into a full game to give away for free. It also works on Linux which I know will appeal to a certain set of people reading this here web site.
You can find Martial Law on Steam. Try not to fall asleep in a snowdrift. Or do. I’m not your boss.