Review: Please Don't Touch Anything

At a Glance

ESRB Rating: NR - Not Rated
My Rating: Ages 13 and up
Genre: Puzzle
License: Commercial
Release Year: 2015
Review Published On: August 25th, 2016
Played on: Martha

Available from:

Gamer's Gate, Steam

Save System:

While you can't save the current state of the box, any endings you've found will remain logged. This will help you remember what you've already seen.

Summary of
Major Issues:

Many of the solutions result in something horrible happening to the city shown on the monitor. Some solutions also involve blood or reference the occult or something satanic, such as pentagrams and the number 666.


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Sooo tempting...

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Is there a manual for this thing?

Game Overview

Have you ever poked at a discarded Rubik's Cube to see if you could solve it? Alternatively, did you ever try those online escape the room puzzles that were popular back in the early days of the web? If mankind's natural curiosity is anything to go by, we never learned anything from Pandora's infamous mistake, and now we're provided with yet another mysterious box to poke at.

Please Don't Touch Anything is this sense of curiosity in a nutshell. Your coworker has stepped away from their workstation, leaving you to watch over the device they manage. Of course, leaving someone alone with a big red button is just asking for disaster, but as it turns out, the button itself is just the start of the craziness. This device has a lot of different functions, and as you toy with it, more panels open up with even more confusing controls. While it might seem random, everything actually does something. Figuring out what these controls actually do is the main mechanic of the game.

Unfortunately, once you figure out all of the possible paths you can take, the game loses a lot of its appeal. The fun comes from solving the box's mysteries, so once you've seen everything the box can do, there's no reason to continue playing. All in all, this might be a good game for people who want some complex brain teasers, but you might want to wait for it to go on sale first.

Points of Interest

Extremely simple concept, but there's a lot to see
A large part of the gameplay involves figuring out what you're supposed to do with the new controls or tools that appear. Often, you'll need to just keep pressing buttons, flipping switches, or just randomly trying things until something new happens.

On the plus side, some of the more esoteric puzzles can be brute forced, so if things really get frustrating, you can always take the slow and boring route to find the solution.
Hints are everywhere.
Your coworker evidently didn't trust themselves to work entirely from memory, and if you look around carefully enough, you'll notice odd marks, patterns, and other scribbles on and around the machine. Helpfully, there's also a blacklight hidden behind a panel. Once you find it, you can wave it over the workstation to find more explicit clues to many puzzles.
Helpful reminders
There's a series of lights on the bottom left side of the box, and each light corresponds to a specific ending. Once you've seen an ending, the light that represents it will become lit, allowing you to see how many possible solutions are left.

Likewise, when you find an ending, a sticker representing that ending will appear on the back wall. This can help you keep track of what you've already seen, and aid you in looking for new paths.
Steam community features
If you're interested in collecting them, there's a set of Steam trading cards available for this game. Unfortunately, these trading cards depict some of the endings, possibly spoiling some of the surprises you're intended to find on your own.

On the other hand, this game's achievements are more about doing crazy things rather than solving the puzzles. Most of them require you to do something that doesn't even effect the game, and a few just poke fun at your mistakes.
Low replayability
As I mentioned in the overview, once you've found every possible path, then there isn't much of a reason to continue playing. It might be worth noting that the paths aren't random: every ending is reached by a fixed series of steps, so the answers are always the same.
Some hints aren't clear
Most of the scribbled hints don't give you any context. This is a good thing, as you're not given a direct answer to any problem you might face. However, some of the clues aren't terribly helpful, and the prime example of this is the name of a famous mathematician. One of his famous formulas is a solution to a puzzle, but the problem is, he went by more than one name. The name he's best known by (and thus the name of the formula being referenced) is not the one the game uses.

Concerns and Issues

Satanic and occult references
While this game is centered around a "black box" concept, the box itself and the area around it are actually covered in a lot of graffiti. These scribbled notes include things like the All Seeing Eye, Pentagrams, and the number 666. In turn, the endings associated with these symbols tend to involve supernatural or occult situations.
Some blood and gore
Despite being a metal box, there are situations where it will spawn pustules or drip blood. One of the more extreme examples is a minigame: a fetus will emerge from the device, and you'll need to use the hammer to kill it. It's not quite as simple as it sounds, as the fetus protects itself with a forcefield after the first hit, and you'll need to destroy organic growths before you can hit the "baby" again.
That poor city
There's a tranquil city shown on the monitor, and the vast majority of the possible outcomes result in something terrible happening to it. Examples include a robot takeover, nuclear war, a sudden and violent return to nature, and even a reversal of gravity.