Every now and then a game comes out where you have a feeling you should avoid as much as you can to truly enjoy it. I’m not against spoilers for the most part, I’ve consumed most pop culture from the past few years by reading the “twists” and “big reveals” in movies and television shows. Even spoilers in games don’t matter too much, as it’s the journey opposed to the event that matters. It’s like a sports game – people record them and watch them later when they can just as easily wait until it’s over and see who won. Or with awards ceremonies, the spectacle is part of the appeal, but you could also live your life doing other things and just look at who won on Google. But there are some things that require that mystery and intrigue, and I felt this was one of them.
Trüberbrook first caught my eye when I saw the miniature models and landscapes. There’s a certain charm and realness to a world that’s physically created. It’s why practical effects are so much more powerful and engulfing than blue and green screens. What’s more exciting, Mad Max: Fury Road or Star Wars Episode III? There’s plenty of spectacle in both, but one is real and grabs you by the shirt collar and never lets you go while the other is almost entirely computer generated and yawn worthy. There’s nothing wrong with CGI, but getting something different is always a treat.
This is a point and click adventure, and a pretty straight forward one at that. The world is rather confined, and the interactions you are allowed are limited, making the usual struggles of the genre seemingly disappear. It isn’t until the fourth chapter that you face any real challenge with the ability to backtrack almost everywhere you’ve previously been. But even here, there are only a few places you need to go, and it’s all nicely laid out. When using items you’ve picked up with people and objects in the world, the game will automatically choose what needs to be combined for progression, taking out the guess work. Hans, the main character you play as after the prologue may even give off a hint of Guybrush – but there aren’t any three-headed monkeys in this adventure, although you may find you fight like a cow.
In recent games I’ve had an issue with narratives that seem a bit obtuse and philosophical for the sake of it. She Remembered Caterpillars and YIIK: A Postmodern RPG are both victims to this type of writing. Here it seems fitting, perhaps because of the world it’s set in. An alternate 1967 Germany sees people fearing alien invasions and cults with technology seemingly from the future. It’s a neat take, and the end of chapter three really opens things up in this regard.
As mentioned, the game is pretty simple for the genre. There’s not an abundance of jokes for attempting to use items with things you aren’t supposed to like in Lucas Arts or Daedalic games, and it may come off as baby’s first point and click to veterans of these types of adventures. The good news is that this never really caused me any problems in regards to enjoyment. Aside from some navigational issues, particularly near the end of the game in a dark room, the controls for the gameplay come naturally. There are some bugs that are to be fixed with a day one patch, although the only thing I ran into during my playthrough was some audio cutting, but I had already read the subtitles so it wasn’t even an issue – I mean, this was a problem in the Mass Effect games too. I do have some issues with some of the voice acting though, and some of the characters in general are pretty flat, both in terms of personality and their story arcs. Stakes seem low until they’re made into something else entirely, which is a very quick escalation. The game isn’t padded with content, but it’d be nice if there was more to the story or some meaningful character interactions. One of the more jarring experiences is a musical number that reminds me of Nick Cave. This part may go on a bit long for some people and doesn’t allow you to do anything other than watch, but I enjoyed it.
When it comes down to it, Trüberbrook is a short adventure with stellar visuals. The world it creates is beautiful, and each turn had me wondering what would happen next, as nothing was as it seemed. If it was a tad longer and had some beefed up dialogue/interactions, this would be unforgettable. Alas, I foresee it being lost to another dimension.
7 out of 10
- Miniature Sets/Models
- Beautiful Animation
- Simple Mechanics
- Some Voice Acting
- Flat Characters/Arcs
Trüberbrook was developed by btf and published by Headup Games. It is available on PC and launches on NS, PS4, and X1 April 17th, 2019. The game was provided to us for review on PS4. If you’d like to see more of Trüberbrook, check out the official site.
Here at GBG we use a rating method that you are more than likely familiar with – a scale of 1 to 10. For clarification, we intend on using the entire scale: 1-4 is something you should probably avoid paying for; 5-7 is something that is worth playing, but probably not at full price; 8-10 is a great title that you can feel confident about buying. If you have any questions or comments about how we rate a game, please let us know.