From the creators of Myst, the revolutionary adventure game that set the standard for its genre for years, comes another marvel. Obduction is the first adventure puzzle game from Cyan Worlds. It is a beautiful, innovative game which seems familiar and completely strange at the same time.
The game begins quite abruptly – you find yourself stranded on a strange world, without much of a clue regarding how you got there or what your purpose is. The town of Hunrath looks earth-like enough, but it’s abandoned, and some kind of invisible barrier separates it from the outside environment that looks completely alien. There isn’t much that provides you information, apart from a few prerecorded holograms and notes scattered about. Game progression primarily relies on the player’s ability to explore and interact with your surroundings, with no explicit waypoint or directions.
Attention to detail is the key to moving forward in the game. Anything from a piece of paper on the ground to a diagram on the wall can be a clue and lead you to your next destination. There is a flashing indicator to let you know what things you can interact with but they are often easy to miss. Puzzle mechanics range from anywhere between a physical puzzle (moving levers and beams to clear paths) to more contextual ones (kinda like join the dots where you have to make connections between multiple clues to find a code).
The game is visually stunning as well. The landscapes look gorgeous and there is start contrast, from lush green plains to rocky, obsidian structures. Backtracking is a common phenomenon, and as the networks of paths run pretty deep, you might find yourself lost and stuck more often than not. One of the greatest challenge in the game is perhaps being able to remember how everything connects and meshes together, almost like a maze. The game also gives you an option to switch between free roam and point-and-click modes, thus giving you freedom to choose how you want to experience the game.
The sense of loneliness that the game encompasses you in is impressive – abandoned toys, barren buildings and hastily scratched notes – all hinting towards an abrupt disappearance of whoever lived there. It is a breathtakingly melancholic experience complimented by the beautiful and well detailed surroundings that you happily drown in.
I did encounter a few framedrops while playing in the Playstation 4, but nothing that got in the way of my enjoyment with the game. There’s a PSVR update coming to the game soon, and I hope by then the developers will fix any performance issues.
I wish there was a little more to the story, though. Exploring and discovering every nook and cranny is immensely fun, and I couldn’t help but want more out of it. That is perhaps the charm of the game – no matter how frustrating or challenging the puzzles may get, you’ll still get a memorable experience to which you’d want to come back.
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