Trüberbrook brings back some of my point and click gameplay nostalgia. It reminds of my lofty PC gaming days playing games like ToonStruck and the various LucasArts classics. Since then though I have started working in IT and there’s nothing I want to see less when I get home than driver updates, windows updates and various other PC platform quirks. In today’s world of fast paced shooters and sprawling RPG’s it seems like old school point and click games have become relics of the past and their popularity is dwindling. There are still a small number of them about, I do like the change of pace and sometimes like a more relaxing gaming experience. Let’s see what Trüberbrook has to offer.
You play an inquisitive physicist called Tannhauser, you have won a stay in a run down yet beautiful resort called Trüberbrook. The weird thing is though, you never even entered the lottery in the first place. So you set out for the rural German location, hoping to cure your mental block and finish your PhD thesis. What unfolds is a sci-fi romp that has X-Files and Twin Peaks vibes. Its a tale of mystery and intrigue that unfolds over your 6 or so hour playthrough. Overall, while I did enjoy the story I found it a bit hit or miss and sometimes. It did its job though and kept me interested until the end.
One thing I will say about the story is that it did make me laugh occasionally. There are some adult jokes thrown in for good measure too. There is an option though in the menus for ‘kids mode’ which I would imagine turns off some of the more adult dialogue and changes a few of the items in the game. There was one specific item, which I will let you discover for yourself which would definitely be removed in this mode. It’s a little bit naughty, funny but unquestionably not safe for kids. After reading up about it the ‘kids mode’ it also removes Tannhausers smoking, which he does a lot. He smokes like an old chimney.
Anyone who has ever played a point and click adventure game before will find their feet very quickly in Trüberbrook. You control your character with the left stick and move your cursor with the right. If you select an item or piece of environment you are presented with a context menu that allows you to select what you want to do with said selected item. Pick it up, look at it use it with another item, all standard fare for a modern game of this ilk. It all works well and I had no issues controlling Tannhauser or accomplishing any of my many in-game tasks.
I did find some of the gameplay had some nice tweaks though, for example, when you try to use an item with another item it only lists the items that will work successfully. This cuts down on some of the mindless experimentation when trying to work out what works. Sometimes in these games, you end up just trying to use random items with parts of the game to find out what’s required to progress. That’s not required in Trüberbrook and I liked that a lot. The games use of items to progress is very nonabstract, a lot of these games use items in a very abstract way and require a lot of trial and error to progress. Trüberbrook does away with this with both it’s useable item menu and it’s nonabstract gameplay. It was nice, refreshing and I rarely get stuck or stressed about what I was doing.
Now, onto Trüberbrooks biggest asset, it’s visuals. The games scenery and environments are beautiful. Its art style is superb and I really relished it. From mist filled swamps to run down town squares, it all looked very delightful. It has a realistic edge to the artwork and paired with it’s 1960’s aesthetic and old-style technology, it all comes together in a subtle and delicate way. It’s really pleasing on the eye and I thought it was Trüberbrooks biggest selling point. I took loads of screenshots for this review and will have to sort through them all and find the most stunning to try and portray how pretty the game actually is.
While I struggle to remember any of Trüberbrooks soundtrack, I do remember it being very chilled out and relaxing. It may not be memorable but it did its job and fit the style of the game adequately. All the voice acting was good, not remarkable but good enough to keep me invested. The various characters in the world were believable, pleasant to meet and nice to speak to. So overall, the sound design, while being unremarkable was fitting, convincing and it did it’s job adequately.
During my 6 or so hours playing Trüberbrook, I had zero performance issues to speak of. No crashes, bugs, zero framerate issues and the game ran very smoothly and competently. This was expected though to be fair. Out of all the styles of games that have minimal impact on performance, point and click 2D games will be high up on the list. That being said I always admire a game that runs well, I can just get on with the game and enjoy what it has to offer.
While I enjoyed my time in Trüberbrook, I did find the story a bit haphazard. That being said, the story was good enough to keep me invested until the end of the tale and at times, comical. I loved the art style, characters and environments. The whole aesthetic was very pleasing and beautiful to look at. The game does bring some welcome gameplay tweaks to the point and click formula to cut down on pointless trial and error meandering. I liked that a lot, more point and click games should do this and I really appreciated it. If you’re in the market for a sci-fi point and click adventure then Trüberbrook could fill that void, honestly though, I would wait for a sale as the price point is a bit high for the amount of content available.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*