Pineview Drive Review
Pineview Drive Review
Kemal Ure reviews Pineview Drive. "Overall, Pineview Drive has good graphics, decent sound design and some genuinely scary moments. However the narrative and gameplay fall way short."
Posted: 09/23/14 | Category: Review | Developer: VIS - Visual Imagination Software | Publisher: United Independent Entertainment GmbH | Platform:

It seems like horror games have become a common theme among indie game developers. This always makes me wonder, because I think horror is a very difficult genre - one can get the story right, one can get the puzzles right, but creating a suspenseful atmosphere and giving a genuine scare to the player? I think this is a very challenging design problem, and it's safe to say that the mediocre horror games out there far outnumber the good ones. Interestingly, Pineview Drive does things in the opposite way; the game is very weak in the story and gameplay department but it's certainly amazing in horror aspects.

The Story

Pineview Drive starts off with a very enigmatic cutscene. We see that something is chasing someone out in the woods, and that's all. Fast forward 20 years and our protagonist finds himself at the front gate of a big mansion - which is located on Pineview Drive, hence the name of the game - hoping to find his missing wife. The rest of the game is about exploring the mansion and looking for clues that might lead you to her.

Gameplay

Oh, I forgot to mention that the mansion is full of ghosts and all kinds of supernatural phenomena. Noises coming from upstairs, flickering lights, floating books etc., are all abundant in Pineview Drive. I know this sounds cliché, but the game really gets the horror elements right.

First of all, the use of lighting is absolutely ingenious. This is literally one of the darkest games I've ever seen. Every time you enter a new corridor to a room you have to find the light switch. However, during this process, it's almost completely pitch black, which makes this simple task very stressful.

On top of that, you start to hear noises coming from inside the room which will begin to convince you that maybe you shouldn't turn on the lights at all... Alternatively, you can also light candles around the mansion, but the number of available matches is limited, hence you need to be conservative with their use.

There's also a sanity bar, which decreases when you run into scary situations. You need to keep it above a certain level to avoid game over. This is hardly an original idea, and unfortunately, is not implemented well in this game at all. The sanity bar is supposed to be restored when you run away from the scary stuff, but sometimes it did and sometime it didn't. Ultimately I never truly understood how the sanity bar dynamics worked.

I don't have nice things to say about the remainder of the game’s mechanics either. You collect keys and open locked doors with them, and that’s about it. No puzzles, no real challenges, nothing. Yes, it's as annoying as it sounds. The whole gameplay is just a big search/find process with random horror elements thrown in to try and keep you interested.

Actually, taking the challenge out of adventure games seems to be the industry standard nowadays, so I’m no longer surprised when I play these kinds of games. But at least most of these no-puzzle games have a decent story. Unfortunately Pineview Drive fails at storytelling too. The story doesn't go anywhere for a long time and the ending is very anticlimactic.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Pineview Drive has good graphics, decent sound design and some genuinely scary moments. However, the narrative and gameplay fall way short of providing the player with a satisfactory gaming experience. If you like games with a creepy atmosphere you might give it a shot, otherwise it hasn't got much to offer the seasoned adventure game player.

 

Final Grade: D

 
Sound and lighting design
+ Creepy atmosphere
Boring and repetitive gameplay 
Underdeveloped story
 Logo
 

 

Specials from Digital Download
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