Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist: a very long name for a very short game. Taking only 20 minutes to complete, Dr. Langeskov is a charming little adventure with a clever premise, and best of all, it’s absolutely free!
The game was developed by William Pugh and his studio, Crows Crows Crows. It markets itself as a heist game taking place in a huge mansion, involving an emerald and a tiger. However, as you start the game, it glitches out, and you are thrown into what appears to be the green room of a theater. The stage manager—voiced by comedian Simon Amstell—explains that only one player can play the game at a time, and enlists your help to run operations while the current player finishes.
Exploration is the main objective of Dr. Langeskov. The player is guided through the backstage area of the production and can help out with tasks like controlling the weather, preparing an elevator, and releasing the tiger into the set when called. Along the way, the player can pick up items strewn around the set that give more insight into the operation. For example, several resignation letters from staff uncover a history of unsafe working conditions. There are many details like this that make the game come to life.
Once all the tasks are completed and the current player has finished the game, you are finally allowed to play the heist for real. While waiting for it to start, however, you hear the stage manager frantically talking to a new player who is in the same situation as you were. This new player doesn’t want to follow the instructions, rushing through the rooms and releasing the tiger too early. A growl and a loud roar are heard, then—roll credits!
The story and events in Dr. Langeskov are very linear; you have barely any control over how things play out. The stage manager can react in different ways based on how you follow his instructions, but it does not affect the overarching story. Gameplay mechanics are limited, with the player only being able to walk around and interact with some objects, but the part that makes this game so fun, at least in my opinion, is the narration.
Simon Amstell does an excellent job with the voice acting in Dr. Langeskov. His performance really sells the character of an anxious stage manager who is just as confused as the player and is trying his best to run the show while everything goes wrong. It’s entertaining to mess with him and see how annoyed he gets if you don’t do what he says. He’s sympathetic and relatable, and the main source of charm in this package.
This is definitely a feel-good game. Whenever I’m stressed out, I take 20 minutes to play it and I instantly feel better. At a specific part before the last stage of the game, if you pause for long enough, the stage manager will encourage you and tell you how strong you are for getting through what you have. It’s strangely motivating. There are little snippets of dialogue like this scattered throughout Dr. Langeskov that always make me smile.
There’s an undeniable irresistible charm to this short digital experience. It’s full of silly surprises, amusing narration, and charisma. I recommend everyone to go play it right now—it’s free and very much worth your time! Funny, inventive, and light-hearted, this game brings you along for an entertaining ride.