TAKEN Review – Taken The Piss

As suspicious as it is absolutely horrible. It’s got nothing to do with Liam Neeson.

01

Developer: Math Nerd Productions
Publisher: Math Nerd Productions
Format: PC
Released: July 7, 2015
Copy supplied by Steam

There’s something shady about TAKEN, to say the least. On its face, this alleged horror game is little more than a pathetic attempt at aping creepypasta freeware games, inexplicably finding its way to the Steam marketplace. The fact Math Nerd Productions wants cash for something normally downloaded for bugger-all on Newgrounds is already suspect, but the history of the game itself is something even more puzzling.

Taken is the result of a Kickstarter campaign – a campaign that was rebooted following the desperate failure of an initial attempt. After proving unable to raise the $9,000 allegedly needed for the completion of this project, Math Nerd went back to the drawing board and relaunched it with a humbler goal of $3,000. The game succeeded in achieving that third of its originally declared budget, but even this success was fishy – most of the money came from a single pledge on the very last day, a much-needed $1,300 contribution sneaking in at the eleventh hour.

The Kickstarter’s promised local multiplayer, incidentally, never made it into the game, while the only two positive reviews for it on Steam come from friends of the developers.

I hesitate to use the word “scam” when talking about crowdfunded games, as it’s a word used far too liberally. However, nothing about TAKEN is on the up-and-up, and it doesn’t help that the product itself is absolute garbage.

02

As I already said, this is the kind of worthless first-person horror game you can find on dozens of free download sites around the Web. Made up of three horribly designed mazes, you’ve got to find a key and return to the starting area while being “chased” by a frozen character model of a little girl. In a straight copy of Containment Breach, this girl only “moves” when you’re not looking at her, though if you’re quick you’ll get to catch her sliding comically through solid walls. It’s quite, quite pitiful.

I completed my first run of Taken in less than six minutes without even trying. I wandered at an excruciatingly slow pace through a hedge maze, walked through a skull, found a key in a magic bedroom, and strolled back to the start, only to see the credits roll. That was it. Scare chords kept trying to make me jump throughout, but I didn’t even see the girl – apparently named Lucy – chasing me on my first attempt.

I only found her on a second run, because this thing supposedly seeking you out is inept and has to be searched for by the player if they want to have any idea what the threat’s meant to be.

03

One maze is full of snow and the other is a series of long, boring, brown corridors. They are at least easier on the eyes than the first maze, riddled as it is with headache-inducing rain effects that dribble down in semen-like ropes and make the entire screen unpleasant to look at. This rain, incidentally, causes the entire game to lag at a miserable framerate, only furthering the discomfort one feels while playing.

These mazes exist without context, they’re simply mazes for a mazes’ sake, because a series of narrow corridors is simply easier than designing a real environment.

You can drop flares to guide your way back to the start, but they don’t really help – the pathways are all so nondescript, barren, and full of aggravating dead-ends that there’s little point in using the breadcrumbs. You never know if the long empty hallway you’re walking down leads anywhere, so why waste a flare?

There is simply nothing here. Not even a hint of substance. At least Dear Esther had a narrative running through it. This is just another attempt at an SCP-like game without the backstory or atmosphere. A game of walking for the sake of walking, with a pursuer so inept that you actually have to try to fail. Even trying the game’s so-called “brutal” difficulty level, I needed to actively turn around and walk into Lucy myself in order to lose.

04

Depending on how lucky you are, you’ll have one of two experiences with TAKEN – you’ll either find the key and exit immediately, thus watching the credits within five minutes, or you’ll get stuck wandering around a lazily cobbled together maze for ages until you give up, sickened by the featureless walls and wasteland of an environment. Either way, you’ll have wasted your time and – unless you take the highly recommended refund option – your money.

That Math Nerd Productions has the sheer gall to expect $9.99 for this is unbelievable. That it cost anywhere close to $3,000 – as low as that price seems – is doubtful. That it deserves anybody’s attention is simply untrue. The only worthwhile thing to say about TAKEN is that its name is quite meaningful indeed – it’s taken peoples’ money, and it’s done nothing to earn it.

Oh, and the “scary” little girl looks shit.

1/10
Accursed

Avaruusnuija
Guest

It’s Steam page tells that it has 11 supported languages. Assuming those are actually good translations, that’d be one positive for it. Also, seems like it’s on “generous” -10% sale right now.

happycakes
Guest
happycakes

Holy shit, this is why something really needs to be done about greenlight. If you take a look at the Taken steam group, there’s a guy there basically saying “I’ll get all my friends to vote this through greenlight” and of course he doesn’t own the game now that it’s released. Greenlighters should have to put their fucking money where their mouth is and buy the game upfront as part of voting yes. Hopefully that would dissuade some of these favours for votes fuckers.

Michael T
Guest
Michael T

That’s a long ass review for this game

SilentPony
Guest
SilentPony

At least it runs better than Arkham Knight! Boosh!

Sylocat
Guest

Wow. He ripped of Containment Breach and didn’t even program the Weeping Angel expy properly?

(and yes I know SCP-173 predates the Weeping Angels)

Willem Dafo
Guest

Liam Neeson would be so disgusted by this, he’d hunt down the devs and destroy them with a very specific set of skills he’s learned throughout his life

darkmage0707077
Guest
darkmage0707077

Great review, Jim. I look forward to Taken throwing a tantrum on par with Slaughtering Grounds and giving you new video publicity to upload.

Mika Rose
Guest
Mika Rose

Wow, who the heck contributed $1,300??

I believe many amazing games came from and still can come from Kickstarter, but this isn’t one of them.

Awakeisland
Guest
Awakeisland

I am extremely uncomfortable with this kind of review, Jim. I like your critical eye, but publishing a review focused on such a small dev, when you have a massive platform and you use a word like “shit” at the end – with very harsh wording throughout – I feel uncomfortable seeing the review published. There are readers of this review who will prolly run with that to the extreme (already have, as evidenced by the comments on this page – e.g. THE GUSTAVLER’s comment). It’s disproportionate when you consider all of the nuance and variables here. Some youth in… Read more »

Dragonzeanse
Guest
Dragonzeanse

I hate being “that guy,” but are we going to see a review for Ronin or Yoshi’s Woolly World?

Sparkles
Guest
Sparkles

Reading up about this developer online, I dont get the sense that theres anything malicious in what they’re doing, or that they set out to scam people. I get the impression that theyre just incredibly naive as to the quality and value of their game. Doesnt excuse this, obviously.

Greg
Guest
Greg

“Math Nerd Productions” has apparently been around for years, but exclusively produced what amount to simple Flash games with names like “Fruit Warfare” for iOS. Their team leader is still in college. I’m willing to believe that they’re all well-meaning people who got in completely over their heads, but obviously this mess of a game shouldn’t be on Steam. Fucking Greenlight.

MrInsecure
Guest
MrInsecure

Wow, Jim, you didn’t even get this mad over Digital Homicide’s shenanigans. This must have really… struck a chord.

YEEEEAAAAHHHHH

craigtheintern
Guest
craigtheintern

Why does it feel like they only needed $50 to make the game and the rest is just blowjobs and 40’s.

Chapomon
Guest
Chapomon

After watching your video, I did find their Kick Starter page and wondered why this was a reboot. I didn’t realize that when they said reboot, they meant the Kick Starter, not the game itself…necessarily (that’s what I get for skimming.) The description of the game on the Kick Start page doesn’t seem too bad; the end result however…

Sergio
Guest

Who wants to bet they helped fund their own game to steal the money from the people that donated.

Keyes
Guest
Keyes

This. This is why Steam refunds were necessary.

The best part is that you can complete it long before the refund timer ends!

Scarletguard
Guest
Scarletguard

Thanks for the warning, Jim!

Nolan
Guest
Nolan

Any plans to interview the creators?
bahahaha

Scarab
Guest
Scarab

The only horror part I gathered about the game from watching your video on it is how horrifically bad the game looks. Also the omen girl is just awful.

Korolev
Guest
Korolev

It says that a code was supplied by steam – so they actually sent you a code? Well… at least the developers are delusional enough to believe in their own work, so that’s something, I guess.

People must be buying these games if they keep getting made. Although why anyone would want to buy something like this is beyond me.

Drenik
Guest
Drenik

From what I can gather Jim, you don’t seem very Taken with the game. I’m sorry I’ll leave now.

Max
Guest
Max

holy shit that looks like such a fucking terrible game.

The Gustavler
Guest
The Gustavler

I don’t know who you are Math nerd productions but I will find and I will kill you for making this shitty excuse of a game.

t4nky
Guest

Wow. This is why people are leery of crowdfunded games, I take it?