In short, this is a delightfully animated 5 to 6 hour point and click
mixed bag. Not too mixed, but enough to make an impact.
With the exception of the opening sequence, you are cast in the role
of Hans Tannhauser, an American physicist on vacation in the German town
of Trüberbrook as a result of winning a lottery he doesn’t remember
entering. It’s a quaint little town, somewhere in the mountains far
from anywhere, where trees and mountains abound. It is the sort of place
that might hide a multitude of secrets, which is how it all plays out in
an other-worldly quantum dimension wacky kind of way.
Being set in Germany, I chose to play with German language subtitled
in English. I liked the fact that I was given the option, and I liked
the result, but I can’t tell you how it compares to the English
version. It also added a layer of authenticity. I willingly assumed Hans
was multilingual, and given his name that seemed appropriate, and that
he preferred to speak in the language of the country he was in rather
than expect the locals to speak to him in his native language.
The animation style is excellent. Backdrops have been hand built as
models, and then 3D scanned to create the game world. It looks
marvellous, and the physical lighting of the models adds a whole other
element. There is a textured real world quality about the result that I
hope we see much more of.
According to the makers, Twin Peaks (amongst others) was an
inspiration for the mood and atmosphere. One obvious connection is that
Hans dictates notes to Beverly, incessantly should you want to, as Agent
Cooper did to Dianne. Here it provides all sorts of insights into the
seemingly mundane, but can also be a necessary part of a problem solve
or two. I confess to dictating a lot, just to hear Hans’ take on
whatever it was he was considering.
While there are a few other types, the puzzles mainly involve finding
and using the appropriate items, and while you can reveal the inventory
ribbon, there isn’t really any point. This is because of the way the
interface works. Clicking a hotspot will bring up an icon wheel, with up
to four actions possibly available (look, take or use, talk and
interact). If you can use an item or items at that hotspot, clicking the
hotspot will make a gear icon available, and clicking the gear will
bring up the possible items to use. Not everything might be part of the
puzzle solve (for instance, having the Dictaphone appear might simply
result in the recording of another memo), but generally what you are
offered will be what you need. If two or three items are required, you
don’t combine them in any traditional sense; the items will be
available and clicking any of them will result in the successful solve
(e.g. getting a “cat” down from a tree). It made the game much
easier than it might have been, particularly with what seemed like some
rather convoluted solutions.
This game mechanic means it is more about finding the items than
thinking about how to use them. In that regard, anything that can be
interacted with in any way will “highlight” if you move your mouse
over it, and if need be, you can reveal the hotspots with the space key.
Apart from one or two very small items (one which I missed even with the
reveal key), you will be unlikely to have too much trouble gathering the
bits and pieces needed to keep moving.
It is largely linear, and there are some triggers that are required
to e.g. have a character appear at a particular location. You will
wander about a bit, and at about the two-thirds mark I was getting a
little tired of going back and forth. Rather helpfully, right about then
a map becomes available. You still have to get Hans to the exit point of
the scene, and he does tend to dawdle even when “running”, but it
was a welcome occurrence and suggested the maker was mindful of how
players might be feeling.
You can tweak a number of settings in the start menu, adjust volumes
and choose your languages. You can also choose “kids play” which isn’t
explained but which some googling indicates removes some adult aspects.
I confess to not being too sure what they might be – it isn’t an
adult game at all – but Hans does smoke later in the game, and there
is a corpse in one part, so perhaps those things change. If anyone
knows, be sure to let me know and I will pass it on.
The game autosaves when you exit, and you can have three different
games going at any one time. Just choose a different profile at the
start menu. There are short loads as scenes change, and an original and
not at all bad soundtrack accompanies Hans in his endeavours. The German
language voices were all fine, and the dialogue never drab or overblown.
I mentioned the opening sequence, and it is worth mentioning again.
You will meet the character again, but be sure to watch, Marvel-like,
for the mid-credit scene at the end of the game.
Go with the story flow and you are bound to have a good time.
I played on:
OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit
Processor: Intel i7-6700 4GHz
RAM: 32GB GDDR5
Video card: AMD
Radeon RX 580 8192MB
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