Point-and-click adventure games were my bread and butter growing up. With nothing but a Mac (then eventually a Windows PC), I cut my teeth on games like Myst, Riven, Day of the Tentacle, Grim Fandango, and The Longest Journey. Questionable puzzles aside, these games were always packed with great story and characters, which spoke to my inner writer.
Fast forward to today and I’m still a big fan of this classic approach. Trüberbook for the PS4 seeks to offer its own take on the genre with a sci-fi storyline set in an alternate version of 1960’s Germany. You play as a quantum physicist who has won a trip to the small village of Trüberbook, but all is not what it seems. Should you untangle this quantum quandary? Let’s find out!
Some Mysteries (and Puzzles) are Beyond Science
Trüberbook is a wonderful looking game (which we’ll discuss in detail below), but let’s start with the story and gameplay. You play as as a quantum physicist named Tannhauser who arrives in the German village of Trüberbook after seemingly winning a lottery to visit.
Things seem nice at first. Quaint, but nice. It’s shortly into your adventure, though, that you realize there’s more to this town than meets the eye. During your first night at the local inn, a mysterious figure appears and steals some valuable notes from your room.
Given that these notes contain the physicist’s most precious knowledge, the game immediately becomes a search to get them back. Following the trail quickly leads you to the other main character you’ll spend most of the game with, Gretchen.
She has arrived in Trüberbook to dig deeper into the mysteries surrounding the village and the nearby mine. From here, the game spans across a variety of environments and offers a story with some intriguing twists and turns.
There are multiple endings (which I won’t discuss), but ultimately from a story perspective I think Trüberbook did a really good job teasing out information and keeping the mystery alive throughout. When the dust finally settled, I was happy with the ending I received, but I will say that I think the story could have been deeper.
When I heard quantum physics were involved, I hoped for some crazy science fiction that would make my brain melt, but instead what I received were some interesting ideas, but very few applications of the main character’s craft.
There are also plenty of questions remaining when the credits roll, which isn’t a bad thing at all, but I would have liked a little more narrative glue to tie everything together. The overall arc is sound, and frankly, a sequel would probably be amazing if the developers are willing and able to continue this story.
I just wish what we had here went a little deeper into the concepts it brings to the table. The dialogue and the writing are all sharp as well, and the game manages to avoid the overly wordy nature of others in the genre as a result.
The English voice acting is solid across the board, and I actually really appreciated the German accent that many of the actors had. It made the village feel more realistic and immersive as a result. Now that we’ve discussed story, let’s talk gameplay.
Trüberbook makes the jump to PS4 and sticks the landing here with smart controls and an intuitive layout. Moving the cursor across the screen with the right stick works fine, and holding L1 lets you see all the hotspots in an environment for quick navigation.
The cursor sticks to interactive hotspots and allows you to use the face buttons for interactions, viewing, dialogue, and applying items. I imagine the inventory may be a divisive element for some players as you have very little control over it.
For example, when you interact with items that you will need, the main character simply picks them up, so you won’t need to figure out what to pick up or leave alone. When you select the gear icon to use an item on something, if you have the correct item in your inventory, it will appear automatically (in some cases you will need multiple items which appear as well).
At first, this may seem like the game is doing the puzzles for you, but I assure you, Trüberbook is no slouch in the puzzle department. Like many other adventure games, the puzzles range from sound and logical, to odd and borderline ridiculous.
For example, finding several coasters to prop up a table makes complete sense, but using a stew to patch a hole in something is a little more of a reach. These kind of puzzle shenanigans are par for the course in classic adventure titles, so I didn’t mind the suspension of disbelief too much, but it did result in some odd head-scratchers.
Incredible Environments with a Splash of Magic
The graphics in Trüberbook are perhaps its strongest characteristic. The style is achieved using real models that are captured using 3D scanners and then digitally polished to include the effects and characters.
The results are environments based on actual miniatures built by the developers, which capture an incredible sense of detail and depth as you move through them. The best comparison I can make is that it’s like watching a 3D movie, but somehow the effect is achieved on a flat screen. The screenshots help, but playing the game is the only way to see what I mean regarding the depth and detail in the environments.
Music is present, but it doesn’t do a lot to bring itself into the forefront. I think some of the more intense scenes could have benefited from a stronger soundtrack, but as I mentioned earlier, the English voice overs did a nice job and include many German accents to sell the world.
Overall, Trüberbook doesn’t rewrite the formula for point-and-click adventures, but it does bring a unique story to the table and some fun puzzles as well. It’s a solid title with a wonderful visual style. I really hope the team expands upon these ideas in a potential sequel, because I would love to see where things go from here!
Final Score: 8.0/10
A copy of Trüberbook was provided to PS4 Experts for review purposes
Article by - Bradley Ramsey
Insert date - 5/9/19