Somerville begins with a peek into the lifetime of a younger household and their canine. Everybody fell asleep watching TV on the sofa, however the curious toddler will get themselves into some inconsequential bother, forcing the household into their routine. Each the kid and canine have to be fed and the kitchen must be cleaned, however one thing feels off. In an explosive second that really caught me without warning, the household is all of a sudden reckoning with an alien invasion. An intense, usually scary journey kicks off from there. When Somerville hits its highs and fires on all cylinders, it’s a transferring spectacle, however sadly, technical hiccups and a few unclear puzzles maintain it again from being actually unbelievable.
To name a online game an alien invasion story would possibly recall Area Invaders, however Somerville represents one thing far more intimate and human. The story primarily follows the daddy of this younger household and examines, with none textual content or dialogue, what the world would possibly appear like and the way you’d survive if the whole lot you knew about Earth immediately modified. You make your manner via Somerville by transferring alongside a linear path, fixing environmental puzzles, and avoiding prompt demise by the hands of imposing enemies. By the tip, I didn’t know a lot in regards to the invading power, however I didn’t care as a result of I used to be solely fascinated by keep alive and related to my household.
After an inciting incident units the sport in movement, the daddy should go away his house to search out security and benefit from a wierd newfound capacity to assist resolve puzzles and progress. The sport’s visuals and audio design are incredible and mysterious. Weird sound results paint unusual explosions within the distance and the occasional mild, synth orchestration and unassuming piano items are expertly used to punctuate scenes.
The simplistic designs of the characters and atmosphere are hanging. The world feels large regardless of being tangibly small, and there are many moments the place the digital camera appears to be like out towards the horizon to border a very spectacular vista. The animation additionally feels pure and fluid… when it really works.
Somerville’s largest difficulty is in the end a useful one that’s generally simple to look previous, however sadly, extra usually, unattainable to disregard. Moments of emotional sincerity are undercut when a personality blinks out of existence for a second, or worse, the protagonist will get caught in geometry whereas attempting to resolve a puzzle. I needed to restart checkpoints usually simply to verify issues executed as they need to. The bugs had been significantly irritating within the moments the place I might assume, “I wager that may have regarded nice… had it animated appropriately.”
These points additionally lengthen to puzzle fixing. Grabbing levers and switches is inconsistent and leaping up on ledges – a frequent motion – is typically tougher than it needs to be. Even with out these points, although, there are some puzzles whose options I simply didn’t take pleasure in. An early one, for instance, concerned carrying an object to a particular spot that I by accident prevented.
When Somerville is working correctly, nonetheless, and the story is being delivered because it ought to, it results in a few of the most memorable moments within the style. The invaders are actually scary. I teared up throughout at the very least one emotional second, and the journey goes locations I by no means would have predicted and ends in a manner that may make Steven Spielberg proud.
My first playthrough with Somerville was tough, however I instantly restarted the sport after seeing the credit. There is no such thing as a incentive to replay. No new recreation plus, and even added context from a second playthrough – I simply wished to expertise the story once more and hoped giving it a second shot would make for a extra constant expertise. It did work higher after I knew precisely what I used to be doing, however I used to be disenchanted my first playthrough felt like a gown rehearsal.
Somerville is held again by technical shortcomings, however is stuffed with spectacular moments price experiencing with the lights turned low and and your headphones up excessive. The daddy’s journey lingers in my thoughts as I mirror on what occurred, and people recollections do in the end outweigh the technical shortcomings. I hope time will present enhancements to deliver the sport to the place it deserves to be, which is excessive within the sky alongside the ships of the invading forces.