Perturbia - First Look
Perturbia - First Look
The strength of this horror adventure beta from indie developer Imaginary Game Studio lies in its puzzles, but the overall game will need more polish before its final release
Posted: 03/06/15 | Category: Preview | Developer: Imaginary Game Studio | Platform: Windows, Mac

Perturbia, in its current state, is a flawed indie horror/adventure game featuring excellent puzzles and subpar presentation. Luckily, Perturbia is currently in its beta stages, so there is time for developer Imaginary Game Studio to make some adjustments and focus on the aspects of the game that work well.

The best part of the Perturbia beta is its puzzles. Each puzzle is interesting and difficult in its own way. From a complex fuse box puzzle to a coded message on a piece of paper, each puzzle requires a different approach. The final puzzle in the beta is a roman numeral puzzle involving equations and pattern recognition that took me almost twenty minutes to solve. I even pulled out a pen and a piece of paper to work it out, which is unheard of in most modern games.

The puzzles are balanced, requiring a good deal of ingenuity to solve but offering hints for anyone struggling to complete them. I was forced to use hints on the fuse puzzle, but I quickly found my stride and solved the rest without needing any help. Solving puzzles is the most rewarding part of the Perturbia beta, as the feeling of accomplishment often makes the struggle worthwhile.

More often than not, however, that feeling of accomplishment is accompanied by a stock horror scene or a tame psychological scare. For an indie horror game, there isn't as much horror as one would think. I appreciate the developers choosing to forgo the tired "jumpscare" trope that so many other games rely on, but hopefully IGS will turn up the scares for the final release.

The Perturbia beta also features some relatively bland environments. Hopefully this will change in time for the final release, but the environments currently look muddy and cluttered. The player's flashlight is too dim and it is often very difficult to see what is around. While this may seem like an odd gripe, considering the fact that Perturbia is a horror game, the lack of light makes finding objects needlessly difficult. I spent roughly ten minutes looking for a single key. I only found it because the "pick up item" prompt appeared. It was on the floor between two chairs. I hadn't noticed it because the floor around it was covered in garbage and clutter that distracted me.

Midway through the beta it turns into a Wolfenstein 3D clone, which is really bizarre and seems out of place in the demo. It is also needlessly difficult. The final boss of the shooter segment took off huge chunks of my health, and I had to hide where he couldn't hit me and shoot his barely exposed arms. Hopefully, the reasoning behind that section will be explained in the full game.

Finally, I feel I must mention the elevator. The beta begins in an elevator with a needlessly difficult Quick Time Event. Failure means restarting elevator scene. The first time I played the beta, I died close to five times before I successfully escaped the elevator. Playing through a second time, I still died three times. It is a frustrating way to start a game, and I hope it either gets some intense polish or is scrapped before the game's full release.

As it stands now, Perturbia is a fun adventure/puzzle game wrapped in a wholly generic and not-so-entertaining horror shell. The difficulty and variation in puzzles are great enough to be capable of standing on their own. Hopefully, the horror and environment aspects will see a lot polish between now and Perturbia's final release. For now, I suggest checking out the beta and waiting to see how the final game shapes up.

Specials from Digital Download
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