I Wanna Be The Caretaker

Creator: Gizmo

Average Rating
8.7 / 10
Average Difficulty
46.3 / 100
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Adventure (5) Needle (7) Gimmick (4) Special (2) Horror (2) Atmosphere (1) Everywhere_at_the_end_of_time (1) Dementia (3)


  • by Dog

Creator's Comments:

Gizmo [Creator]
My first complete fangame, made in ~2 months.

I like tier lists, so if you want to make a chart for the rooms in the game here you go (spoilers for all the rooms obviously): https://tiermaker.com/create/i-wanna-be-the-caretaker-621666

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[5] Likes
Rating: N/A       Difficulty: N/A
Mar 21, 2021

20 Reviews:

This game is a homage to Leyland Kirby "The Caretaker" and especially his work, Everywhere at the End of time, and it does a great job at mirroring the thoughts and feelings evoked by the original.

The Caretaker was a long running project by the musician Leyland Kirby, characterised by the exploration of memory and it's gradual degradation through 30's ballroom recordings, sampled into songs to tell a story, especially in Everywhere at the End of Time, exploring dementia as a subject, divided into 6 stages of deterioration. It is in no way necessary to listen to the original album, however I found the experience very eye opening and if you think you can, you should. Otherwise, this game is in my opinion a perfectly valid way to experience a similiar experience.

This game begins on the menu with "Heartaches", the main leitmotif of the album. This was a superb choice.


"Here we experience the first signs of memory loss. This stage is most like a beautiful daydream. The glory of old age and recollection. The last of the great days." -Leyland Kirby

Stage 1 is the setup for a very simple adventure game. The background OST is "It's just a burning memory", the most iconic and well known song in the original album. It feels mostly normal but there is something off already and you can tell. Bullets are a bit weird, and your blood is pinkish. But it's fine, maybe it's just the fangame you're playing being odd. You continue to traverse it, having some simple looparound structures. There's not much entanglement going on, everything is as glorious as it should be, you're still in control of your mind. This stage is pretty enjoyable.


"The second stage is the self realisation and awareness that something is wrong with a refusal to accept that. More effort is made to remember so memories can be more long form with a little more deterioration in quality. The overall personal mood is generally lower than the first stage and at a point before confusion starts setting in." -Leyland Kirby

This stage features a different gimmick, bombs. This is a good choice for stage 2, as it makes it noticeably harder to beat rooms due to having to think ahead a little bit, which makes the path overall a bit more confusing. This arks back to the point of the original Stage 2: you're in denial of the degradation, even if the mood is far lower, colder, which is accompanied by the far gloomier song, "Misplaced in time". This is just a gimmick after all, how could this be anything worse?


"Here we are presented with some of the last coherent memories before confusion fully rolls in and the grey mists form and fade away. Finest moments have been remembered, the musical flow in places is more confused and tangled. As we progress some singular memories become more disturbed, isolated, broken and distant. These are the last embers of awareness before we enter the post awareness stages." -Leyland Kirby

This stage features a shooting gimmick, where two screens overlaid on top of eachother overlap and you must shoot to see the other. The needle is quite simple, but its far harder to concentrate on due to the gimmick used. This is genius, as it makes the jumps far less certain if you just go into them recklessly in the much gloomier and mellow-colored landscape with the song "Long term dusk glimpses", which definitely slows down the pace, and shows how much trouble the player character is having concentrating on simple, daily tasks. While not the song I'd have chosen, it's a fine pick in the game that passes perfectly. All of this is still coherent, however, as he still knows who he is. Unlike...


"Post-Awareness Stage 4 is where serenity and the ability to recall singular memories gives way to confusions and horror. It's the beginning of an eventual process where all memories begin to become more fluid through entanglements, repetition and rupture." -Leyland Kirby

This is accompanied excellently by the gimmick, and the visual change. Everything is a dark, gloomy blue, and nothing is how it was. The kid's face is blank, the saves are blank, and most of all you are traversing through empty static, a very iconic staple of the caretaker's fans, to represent dementia. You are no longer aware of what's happening as before, it's a point of no return now, and the very fitting song "Post Awareness Confusions (J1)" is playing.


"Post-Awareness Stage 5 confusions and horror. More extreme entanglements, repetition and rupture can give way to calmer moments. The unfamiliar may sound and feel familiar.
Time is often spent only in the moment leading to isolation." -Leyland Kirby

This stage has a much simpler gimmick than the last, perhaps reflecting the Caretaker's description of "The unfamiliar may sound or feel familiar". Regardless, this is a very visceral stage, with a white and red color combination resulting in a very terrifying feeling, accompanied well by the song "Synapse retrogenesis".


"Post-Awareness Stage 6 is without description." -Leyland Kirby


I will try to keep these as spoiler free as possible. This game is not for the easily disturbed, and definitely deals with some dark topics that affect many. If you feel you may not enjoy this game due to them, or that they may be unhealthy and remind you of bad things, then maybe skip this one. If not, this is an outstanding game that should be played by everyone who can. From concept alone, this is a 10/10, and the platforming is not bad at all if you're afraid of that. Gizmo's first game is already a very promising one, and I await their next games eagerly.

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Tagged as: Adventure Needle Special Horror Everywhere_at_the_end_of_time Dementia
[5] Likes
Rating: 10.0 100       Difficulty: 42 42
Mar 21, 2021
I Wanna be the Caretaker is based off of the famous Caretaker album, Everywhere at the End of Time, each stage being based on one section of this massive musical experience - one that I have not personally partaken in both due to my own disinterest in it and just not really wanting to put in the time to do it. Nonetheless, it is not a necessity that you are familiar with the album sonically, the game can be consumed quite easily without having never heard it once, as I did. In fact, I might even suggest it to be a superior way of playing this game as it allows you to develop a stronger connection to the game itself rather than it being carried by your connection to the album.

Nonetheless, Caretaker (which is how I will be referring to the game from here on out), is a damn fine gimmick needle game which actually manages to innovate on some of its chosen gimmicks. Particularly, I found the last few stages to be especially good, the last one ESPECIALLY so thanks to its intelligent combination of the various gimmicks within previous stages. Visually, Gizmo chooses a more simplistic approach, succeeding greatly in what they set out to do. The game is at its best in this respect also at the last stage. Truly, the only problem I had with this game was with the platforms being a bit goofy, not allowing you to stand on them without issue. This made a couple saves more difficult than I'm sure they were intended to be - unless this was on purpose. If so, I do not get it, though I could come up with some reasons for it, I'm sure.

All that, however, doesn't truly matter. Whether or not Caretaker was made purely to recreate the album its based on or to meditate on the themes of that album, I do not know; however, speaking on Caretaker purely on its own merits, I believe it to be a genuinely thought-provoking experience. I have little experience with dementia, but I do know how it feels to see someone you love deteriorate, and the end result is one I don't think anyone should have to see. As such, if you have had the unfortunate weight on your mind of such an experience, then this game will resonate heavily with you. It offers insight into how it might feel to be on the other side of the wall, feeling yourself become all static and unfamiliar, suffering a fate worse than death - the death of one's own mind.

Do I even need to tell you this is a game well worth playing?

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Tagged as: Needle Gimmick
[4] Likes
Rating: 8.5 85       Difficulty: 55 55
Mar 21, 2021
A well made carefully crafted game with a gloomy intoxicating theme. I really enjoyed the game and atmosphere. The quality of the game was over the top so I give it a 10/10. Would recommend.

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Tagged as: Adventure Needle Horror Dementia
[1] Like
Rating: 10.0 100       Difficulty: 40 40
Apr 1, 2021
For the creators first fangame, this game is very, very good. I'll leave it to the other reviewers to talk about the origins of the music, as I mainly want to focus on the execution of the game itself.

The gameplay and gimmicks are overall fun, and I found the puzzles satisfying to solve, however some gimmicks can require you to wait out long cycles before you can try a part of the screen again. I also experienced some weird bugs with how moving platforms behaved, and I would often slide off them without pressing any movement keys.

For me, the biggest letdown I experienced was the atmosphere and the visuals, combined with the music of course. I felt like there was a lot of wasted potential to convey the mental deterioration that the albums portray. The visuals of each stage don't feel like they are deteriorating, instead, it feels like you get a new theme with each stage. This problem is especially prevalent in stage 5, where the tileset and colors feel very, very out of place, especially compared to the direction the stage prior was taking with its visuals.

Conclusion: Good gameplay, fun puzzles, some mildly annoying stuff, decent visuals, good music. Would recommend.

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[0] Likes
Rating: 7.5 75       Difficulty: 40 40
Mar 29, 2021
this game's artistic vision and atmosphere are good, but the gameplay/platforming itself is not particularly interesting and some of the gimmicks were a miss for me

the bomb and eyeball gimmick just drew out the game with small tedious waiting segments, and dying at the end of the screen made that waiting worse. there was a screen in the bomb stage where the bomb wasn't even used for platforming/pathing, but just as a timer, which i thought was a waste

the shoot-to-switch-screens gimmick just felt like normal needle, but with an additional hassle of spamming z to confirm safe spots

stage 1 and the red water stage had very safe but forgettable needle, and it felt like there was a lot of filler cherry cycles that didn't really contribute to interesting gameplay

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[0] Likes
Rating: 7.2 72       Difficulty: 42 42
Mar 22, 2021