The End of You Review – This Is (Not) A Love Story

Reviewed June 20, 2024 on PC




June 20, 2024


Memory of God


Memory of God

The Stillness of the Wind, an unassuming 2019 indie about the daily routine of the elderly Talma on her small farmstead in her twilight years, quietly devastated me. I devoured it over a single session, huddled on the couch, Switch held close, as its gentle but insightful tale of loss and family unfurled. On hitting the credits, I walked outside and sat with my dog for a while. Like many of us, I was also a different person back then; the five years that would follow The Stillness of the Wind were uniquely trying. A whole way of life upended, and new ways of connecting collided with unprecedented loss and rising levels of misinformation and division.

It’s impossible to have lived through these years and not have been changed by them, something solo developer Coyan Cardenas (working under the name Memory of God) understands all too clearly. His latest, The End of You, is a tightly focused little game that looks to explore both Cardenas’ specific influences but also, more broadly, the emotional complexities and uncomfortable truths of more universal experiences. You may not see any part of yourself in it and that’s okay, there’s enough intent and consideration in here that it’s worth a play all the same, but for those who recognise the uglier parts of themselves in The End of You, it becomes a whole other beast.

It should be stated up front that The End of You is far closer to a narrative experiment than a traditional game. The Stillness of the Wind was mechanically minimal in its own right but in its abstraction of farming chores, it at least emulated something akin to digestible systemic repetition. The End of You offers no such concession to the player, instead, its roughly hour-long runtime takes basic first-person interactions and bolsters them with an astounding command of tone and play space.

In the simplest terms, The End of You follows the aftermath of a terrible breakup between player character Walter and his long-term partner Emily as he packs away her things in a small apartment. In loftier terms, The End of You is an analog horror-coded, non-linear exploration of regret that uses a strange amalgamation of cinematic and game languages to create an uncertain, hostile landscape where time, causality, and memory bleed together.

“…an uncertain, hostile landscape where time, causality, and memory bleed together.”

As you explore the once-shared home, you’ll find an array of items that can be picked up, examined, and thrown, though only a handful of them will trigger the next memory of Walter and Emily’s relationship. These instances give you a scattershot glimpse into a strained dynamic as Walter sinks into self-loathing and Emily grapples with their increasingly insular life. A personal text for Cardenas, The End of You weaves in universal emotional experiences to better immerse you into this slow-motion breakup, with everything from money woes to unexpected health issues arising as the two try to navigate the widening gap.

Interactivity in these moments is fairly minimal but in a compelling subversion of dialogue options, you’ll be prompted several times to choose between a few responses to Emily’s questions. “Can we talk?” she gingerly broaches in bed one night, Walter able to respond with yes, no, or “I’m so fucking scared right now”. I chose the latter, he mumbles “Sure”. It’s a recurring bit of storytelling in the game, some of the other responses venturing into crueller territory, but always used to further Walter’s messy interiority.

These memories are “finished” when you place the triggering item in an open box of Emily’s stuff, making for the game’s only pain point. That throw option I mentioned earlier is how you get the item into the box, but it is finicky and I had to restart the game after an object that missed the box became un-interactable on the ground. It’s not ideal and something that will likely get patched but given how narratively focused the game is, having its critical moments break is disheartening.

Still, after more carefully positioning myself to place items in the box, things snapped back into focus as the depth of this small world became evident. After these memories, you’re given a brief text descriptor of a garden tableau before Walter has the chance to, again briefly, reflect on how he acted during the relationship. These are worded sharply and concisely, letting your imagination and emotional interpretation engage with the text to make your own conclusions about how things went down.

Walter is a hard character to inhabit and his behaviour toward Emily, sometimes chosen by the player and sometimes not, is difficult to watch, let alone play. If you’ve ever been the one to pull away during a relationship, or more broadly, if you’ve ever deeply regretted how you acted to a loved one, The End of You will likely unravel something in the dark recesses of your mind. It’s a frequently ugly experience, unblinking as it stares down the self-sabotage, deceptions, and contradictions of interpersonal changes and growth. These are hard-earned conclusions about yourself, and not entirely welcome, but crucial to understanding the person you truly are.

The End of You takes this subject matter and brilliantly speaks on it with horror-adjacent visual language. The booming analog horror trend, typified by the tangibility of 90’s tech and lo-fi aesthetics, works overtime to infuse the apartment with a suffocating sense of dread that not only perfectly mirrors the game’s thematic work but ultimately underlines just how much of a horror story it really is. Polygonal faces abstracting emotion, playable cassette and VHS tapes, the incessant dripping of the broken tap in the kitchen, it all coalesces into a tactile nightmare you can’t wake up from.

It’s fitting then that you decidedly don’t– The End of You ends as it begins, with no easy answers, forgoing closure for emotional authenticity. The how of this ending is up to you to find for yourself but its commitment to theme and tone is admirable, veering into the abstract and experimental storytelling that dots the experience before Cardenas offers up a metatextual apology to someone. I’m reminded of when I first rolled credits on Davey Wreden’s The Beginners Guide, an intensely emotional moment that blurs the lines between fiction and reality in such a way as to make you reconsider the game you just played.

In pulling from his specific trauma over the past half-decade, Cardenas crafts an experience that, while mechanically largely of a piece with genre conventions, is a singular and difficult work. There’s grit in its teeth, a crunch underfoot, in almost every aspect of its considered aesthetic work and tonal choices but its ideas are what sets it apart. A piece that careens between self-portrait and uncompromising mirror, The End of You finds comfort in the dark even as it concedes to not knowing what, exactly, comes at the end.




  • Deeply introspective work
  • Excellent use of analog horror aesthetics
  • Sharp writing and pacing
  • Overall sense of space


  • Object collision can be wonky

An intensely personal examination of how we can fail those we love and the uncomfortable truths about why, The End of You is a fascinating and strange sophomore effort from Memory of God. Through its brilliant use of analog horror aesthetics and considered writing, it’s the kind of indie experience that reminds us of the power of a weird, little game.