An ad­ven­ture throw­back that’s über good

PlayStation Official Magazine (UK) - - CONTENTS -

As we sit down to play this quirky ’60s-set point-and-click ad­ven­ture it takes sec­onds to men­tally tick off the game’s in­flu­ences. Twin Peaks, The X-Files, and a dash of Ron Gil­bert’s sense of hu­mour all bub­ble to the sur­face in the game’s open­ing gam­bit as our hero dic­tates his thoughts to ‘Bev­erly’, as the gen­tle breeze of Badala­menti-like cool jazz builds, and the town’s hote­lier drops a joke about our name: “Eleven­hauser, is it?” We’re ac­tu­ally play­ing as Tannhauser (pro­nounced ‘ten­hauser’ – ged­dit?), a physi­cist who’s won a trip to the re­mote Ger­man town of Trüberbrook, where he hopes to fi­nally find the peace and quiet he needs to fin­ish his PhD the­sis. He’s out of luck in this place.

He wakes in the night to find a mys­te­ri­ous man ri­fling through his suit­case – a man who steals his science pa­per, then dis­ap­pears into thin air. Tannhauser’s bump in the night sends him on a jour­ney that in­volves spa­cial worm­holes, di­nosaurs, swamp mon­sters, a se­cret un­der­ground vault cov­ered in Egyp­tian hi­ero­glyph­ics, and a lonely ro­bot that’s seek­ing friend­ship.

It’s at this mo­ment, when we stum­ble into a science lab-bunker and need to con­vince the friend­less ma­chine, the Bar­barossa 2000, to let us in, that our demo re­ally starts. The puz­zles are sim­ple enough: first find a mem­ory card to bring the ro­bot to life, then, through di­a­logue choices, get it on­side. There’s a gen­tle hu­mour to the con­ver­sa­tion that’s rem­i­nis­cent of Dou­glas Adams. The stream­lined con­trols – there’s no item man­age­ment; if you have the cor­rect ob­jects to solve a puz­zle an op­tion ap­pears as you daw­dle over ar­eas of a scene – en­sure we’re fo­cused on solv­ing puz­zles, not wrestling with ab­stract item com­bi­na­tions.


The up­shot of the con­trol setup (the right thumb­stick is your ‘cur­sor’ and the D-pad con­trols your ac­tions) means we can en­joy the world Ger­man dev BTF has cre­ated. The team has a back­ground in TV and it shows. The scenes are cre­ated from hand­made dio­ra­mas, which are then digi­tised, and char­ac­ter mod­els are added later. The re­sult­ing blend of stop-mo­tion tech­niques and dig­i­tal pup­pets cre­ates a charm­ing, unique game world. There are rough edges to scenes, and the real-world light­ing feels warm and invit­ing. It’s like play­ing an Aard­man an­i­ma­tion di­rected by David Lynch. (It’s as good as you’d imag­ine.)

There will be 30 such scenes in the fi­nal game, and many will be re­vis­ited in dif­fer­ent states. But with a mys­te­ri­ous voiceover threat­en­ing, “Your world is go­ing to col­lapse,” time’s run­ning out to see them all.


FOR­MAT PS4 / ETA JAN / PUB HEADUP GAMES / DEV BTF Trüberbrook mixes re­al­world and in-game light­ing for a uniquely warm and com­fort­ing feel.

Top Tannhauser ar­rives in the town with plans to science the *blorp* out of his the­sis. That’s not go­ing to hap­pen…

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