Somerville Review

Somerville reviewed on PC by Ryan McCaffrey. Also available on Xbox.

Somerville follows its own unique path within the puzzle-adventure genre. That path isn’t always a smooth one, with camera annoyances and physics wonkiness occasionally serving as a pebble in your shoe while solving its series of pleasantly challenging puzzles, and the story is more strange for the sake of being strange than it is thought-provoking. But thanks to its strong visual storytelling techniques and the way the opening minutes inspire an irresistible desire to find out what happened to this man and whether or not he’ll ever find his family, Somerville is nevertheless a very good tour through an exceptionally bleak scenario – all of which is successfully conveyed without a single line of dialogue.

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Somerville is a delightfully bizarre Physics-based puzzle Adventure game that Was developed by some of the former Talent that created playdead's pair of Modern Classics limbo and inside and yet At the same time it plays very Differently from those offerings Reminding me more of the seminal early 90s classic out of this world than limbo Or inside with its upside down setting Its color palette and character Renderings and its ever rotating camera Orientation from scene to scene this was A pleasant surprise though it isn't Nearly as polished or thought-provoking As its progenitors leaving us with a Very good game but ultimately not one I Expect to be thinking about for very Long now that I've finished it [Music] Foreign [Music] Erville opens in the most wholesome way Possible a man a woman their infant Child and their dog are all on the Living room couch having fallen asleep In front of the TV you take control of The man who is never named in fact we Never hear from him or from anyone else Like limbo inside and out of this world There is no dialogue somerville's Storytelling is entirely Visual and Visually I do love what developer Jumpship has done here our nameless

Voiceless hero is also essentially Faceless since all of these characters Are more like impressionist renderings Of people and yet the use of color and Particularly contrast makes the world Pop when need be such as when a dash of Yellow wordlessly tells you that you can Interact with an object sound design Meanwhile is effective in its minimalism Aside from the piano soundtrack that's Good at nudging up the drama or tension When somerville's designers want it to The pervading audio you'll hear is the Pained breathing and movement of our Hero Whatever happened to him clearly Physically hurts him and the further Into this strange new world he gets the More pain he's in all of this paints a Very dark Bleak and yet intriguing Mystery one where the story wastes no Time in ratcheting up the danger with Extraterrestrial objects suddenly Filling the sky outside of your remote Cabin in the opening moments and well it Only gets mesmerizingly weirder from There Somerville then is a slightly Under four hour quest to unravel what The hell just happened and is very much Still happening you'll need to solve Physics-based puzzles using your Inexplicably glowing arms Newfound power Primarily through turning the invading Alien architecture into a permeable

Water-like substance by Shining Light on It specifically light that's been Supercharged by your arm's power extra Layers get added to these Powers as you Progress but it's a bit thin while it Was enough gameplay to keep Somerville Out of walking some emulator territory Its puzzles aren't likely to hold you up For more than a few moments at a time in Fact the one time I did get hung up it Was more of an issue I had wrestling With the physics system than the actual Game design part of the reason its Puzzles never get all that complex is That Somerville keeps its control scheme Minimalist the triggers and one face Button are all you'll ever need I admire That Simplicity including in the way it Keeps its interface non-existent 99 of The time especially in a moody Adventure Like this I love when the atmospheric World gets to shine through unobstructed As a dog lover I was delighted at first By the prospect of having a four-legged Wingman but sadly your Canine Companion Serves almost no purpose here aside from Occasionally and subtly pointing you in The right direction he doesn't assist in Puzzles or gameplay he has no impact on The story and you can't even pet him at Will there's value in some companionship In such a lonely world but it seems like He could have been given something more To do lonely and isolating as it may be

The altered Earth is again pretty it's Also refreshing to be able to move about Freely in each scene's 3D space which Somerville mixes up constantly this is Not a left to right progression you'll Go up down left and right at various Times and in that respect Somerville Does a great job of staving off anything Remotely resembling monotony during its Short run that's a big part of where the Aforementioned out of this world Reminders stems from which is very much A good thing and like that gem I was Always intrigued by where somerville's Next scene might take me occasionally Though that freedom results in awkward Transitions when you move from one room To the next sometimes the room you're Heading into will have a different Camera angle that causes you to move in The opposite direction right back where You just came from which never ceases to Be annoying when I made it through Though I found a conclusion to the story That left me with far more questions Than answers as I watched the end Credits roll and I have to admit with Some disappointment that I didn't Immediately feel compelled to gather Around the nearest water cooler to Discuss those questions with friends It's difficult to describe without Spoiling anything but I suppose I'd say That I didn't find somerville's Mystery

As alluring as I'd hoped Somerville follows its own unique path Within the puzzle Adventure genre that Path isn't always a smooth one with Camera annoyances and physics wonkiness Occasionally serving as a pebble in your Shoe while solving its series of Pleasantly challenging puzzles and the Story is more strange for the sake of Being strange than it is Thought-provoking but thanks to its Strong visual storytelling techniques And the way the opening minutes Inspire An irresistible desire to find out what Happened to this man and whether or not He'll ever find his family Somerville is Nevertheless a very good tour through an Exceptionally Bleak scenario all of Which is successfully conveyed without a Single line of dialogue for more on the Latest big game reviews check out our Reviews of Sonic Frontiers and God of War Ragnarok and for everything else in The world of video games stick with IGN

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