I find myself a little speechless after having finished The Immaculate Drag. This transient technicolour soul-searching, smoking sim has made me reflect in a way I wasn’t expecting to. What starts out as a game about needing some fresh air transcends into a mesmerisingly moving experience about a loss of creativity and the feeling of being in an imposter in a world you’re slowly slipping from. By the time I finished my journey with The Immaculate Drag I couldn’t help but stop and reflect.
“Its narrative is so beautifully transcendent that you quickly immerse yourself within its therapeutic space.”
The Immaculate Drag is a walking sim that sees you stroll along a seaside boulevard in search of fresh air. You’ll talk to familiar faces and worn out strangers and wax philosophically about life and its many challenges. Throughout your brief interlude in this strange, lynchian world, you’ll find yourself contemplating along with the protagonist about the wider world around you and your place within it.
It feels odd to review The Immaculate Drag in a traditional way. While its gameplay is limited, – constricting you to three simple actions: walking, talking and smoking – its narrative is so beautifully transcendent, its dialogue so heartfeltly sanguine at times and yet painfully depressing in others, its world so captivatingly cold, that you quickly forget you’re playing a video game and instead immerse yourself within its therapeutic space.
“The Immaculate Drag offers you a space to unwind and reflect, and if you should so desire a voice to help you piece it all together.”
And what a beautiful space it is. The 80s aesthetic lends itself to the creation of a hauntingly beautiful shorefront where dreams seem to live and die side by side. The palm trees soak in the neon lights of the boulevard’s storefronts while the people bathe beneath them with a cigarette firmly planted between their fingers. The sea ebbs and flows beneath the twinkling stars as the nearby solitary benches serve as a reminder of the life that once populated this ghost town.
The game’s finale contrasts the brightly lit despair of the cityscape with the eerie forest lit up by a solitary light casting shadows as it rotates endlessly as if stuck in a rut. It is a beautiful conclusion that feels as hopeful or hopeless as you want it to. It is either the end or the beginning. Perhaps even both.
There are three possible endings to discover along with beautifully complex drafts from forlon novels that never saw the end of the tunnel to find. Or, should you wish to ignore the guided tour of a world in decline and instead soak in its atmosphere by your lonesome you can. The Immaculate Drag offers you a space to unwind and reflect, and if you should so desire a voice to help you piece it all together.
“The Immaculate Drag perfectly portrays a state of mind in a way no one else seems to have done. It is an incredibly audacious achievement, and one that has been executed phenomenally.”
The Immaculate Drag is beautiful in its simplicity. At times it is a walk through the lives of stifled creatives and lost souls and at others, it’s nothing more than a cold moment with a cigarette as the sea ebbs and flows. It’s a reflection on creativity, on the complexity of language and the torturous sense of being an imposter.
But above all else, it is a story of love. Whether it is a lost love, a love for writing, a love for a good view and a warm constricting puff of smoke, it doesn’t matter. Instead, its technicolour world that starkly contrasts with the depressingly oppressive night offers up so much potential. It shows you potential ideas, themes and stories and it expects from you absolutely nothing. It is up to you which semblance of its momentary reality you pick up on, that you most closely relate to.
The Immaculate Drag is a space in which you can come to terms with your own challenges. Its poetic dialogue and moving script perfectly encapsulate the difficulties of life in a way that never feels forced. It feels simultaneously personal to its protagonist and to ourselves. Somehow, The Immaculate Drag perfectly portrays a state of mind in a way no one else seems to have done. It is an incredibly audacious achievement and one that has been executed phenomenally.
You can pick up The Immaculate Drag over on its Steam store page for £1.69.