Play as Taylor Lee in the midst of their unplanned dream therapy session in Therapy with Dr. Albert Krueger, the first-place winner of this year’s Spooktober jam, by dino999z.
Taylor finds themself face-to-face with Dr. Albert Krueger, the CEO of Krueger Health Solutions Corporation, as he leads them through a dream therapy session, one of the newest and most talked-about procedures offered in the G2. The only problem is that Taylor doesn’t recall ever signing up for this treatment.
So…how did they get there and why? To find out the answer to that question and some more, you need to play the game multiple times. Three times, to be exact.
As you talk to Dr. Krueger more, he offers a series of psych tests to get to know the kind of person Taylor is. You can choose to be obedient and answer them in a favorable way or rebel against your therapist.
Each option offers you a different ending, making replaying the game rewarding beyond simply finding out what parts you missed. Therapy with Dr. Albert Krueger offers you dynamic subsequent playthroughs, as parts of the game are changed once a full playthrough is completed.
The aesthetic of Therapy with Dr. Albert Krueger is old-school pixelated horror, mixed with a bright cyberpunk feel. The characters, backgrounds, sound and even GUI work together in tandem to create a compelling experience.
At the beginning of the game players are warned about possible jump scares and violent imagery. I’d argue that the player isn’t left feeling scared, but rather a bit unsettled, as events hammer on. By the end of the game, I was won over by Krueger’s characterization. I was less scared and more intrigued by the psychotic therapist with a thirst for murder.
The game excels at distracting the player from the fact that it is indeed a visual novel. There are mini games, such as selecting which cup has a ball hidden underneath. It also showcases a lot of neat tricks having to do with audio and graphics, amongst other things—all of which are done better justice when experienced by the player themselves.
Therapy with Dr. Albert Krueger is by no means perfect. The writing falls a bit short, particularly with Taylor’s dialogue. I wonder if having a nameless and faceless protagonist would be more compelling for the player. There’s nothing about Taylor that suggests that they’re an integral part of the story and can’t be swapped out for another character or even a player insert.
What’s more, Taylor’s dialogue feels clunky, as if they are trying too hard to sound like a stereotypical college student. I found myself skipping through their dialogue even in the second and third playthroughs as more information was revealed. On that note, skipping through dialogue becomes tedious and makes playing through the game all over again feel like a bit of a drag.
The story leading up to the multiple endings plays out almost the exact same way each time. The ending you get is determined by a series of minigames only, causing the story to feel a bit bland at times. There are many openings where Dr. Krueger will ask the player what they think and Taylor will give a generic answer. It’d be more immersive to have the player be able to choose dialogue options that Dr. Krueger could react to.
Overall, I’d say that Therapy with Dr. Krueger is definitely worth playing. With the given time frame for the Spooktober jam, the game manages to excel in many areas and provides an impressive experience for players.
You can download Therapy with Dr. Krueger for free on itch.io.