One Hand Clapping
Developer: Bad Dream Games
Reviewed On: PlayStation 5
Also Available For: Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox, PlayStation 4
One Hand Clapping already received a review from Sequential Planet back in January, specifically covering the Nintendo Switch version. While we usually don’t do too much in the way of cross-referencing when we write different reviews for the same game on multiple platforms – heck, I try not to even read my colleagues pieces in these instances, to avoid any potential influence on my own opinion – One Hand Clapping is… a bit of an exceptional case. As such, I’m really only going to be talking about one aspect of it today: accessibility.
I would like to preface this by saying that, based on what little I was able to get through of this game, Brandon’s assessment of it earlier this year seems to be pretty fair. However, the fact that I was literally unable to get through it is a bit a of a problem, to put things mildly. There are many types of people that this game is inaccessible to due to the nature of its design and interface: mute people, deaf or hard of hearing people, people with low lung capacity, people who have voice dysphoria or don’t have particularly good pitch, to name just a few.
In my case, not only did the voice dysphoria hit me pretty hard whenever I tried to play One Hand Clapping (and result in my never playing more than about ten to fifteen minutes at a time) there were many instances where I had trouble completing puzzles because the range of notes I can hit is broader than the game accounts for. The game can be adjusted to reflect the player’s range, with a number of available settings as well as tools to help the player figure out where they fit, but no matter what setting I tried I would always have either my highest or lowest comfortable notes outside the range. Funnily enough, this actually exacerbated my vocal dysphoria more than anything, and my time with One Hand Clapping was far from the feel-good experience I think the developers want players to have.
Again, my colleague Brandon did a good job with his prior review. From what I could see of it, One Hand Clapping is indeed a well-made game – a good one, even! – but that doesn’t exempt it from a conversation about who is included and who is excluded by its design. This article is more a warning than anything else; You may very well enjoy One Hand Clapping if you can play it, but whether or not you can in fact play it is another matter entirely.