Scorn, a word that perfectly conveys the mood of Ebb Software's successful attempt at a horror puzzler. Recommended playing time, without a doubt, post sunset. This is dark material, ya feel me. Story
What is even the story in Scorn? Any solid character growth, a typical hero's journey? Not really. At the end of this alienating experience, it is up to the player to decide what to make of it, which seems to be an intended purpose. Reminiscent of the movie Stalker, the viewer's final impressions will be subjective. You could refer to the title, in an attempt to decypher the outcome of the plot, but you'll need to make up your own mind, which will be a bit more damned after the credits roll.Presentation, Image and Sound
Journey into H. R. Giger's universe as you wake up and find yourself in a space that looks exactly like the alien hive we know so well from Ridley Scott's Alien movie franchise. This game has character, albeit gross.
We're talking eerie, dark and twisted visuals, menacing and crazy looking environments, from which you'll immediately wish to escape, to never, ever, return to.
The developers adopted the biopunk art style with verve, reflected greatly in the creature design and the many body modifications endured by the protagonist.
Interchangeably trek through tight, damp corridors, triggering suspense and claustrophobia, to then arrive at a more open section where you'll solve familiar puzzles, though at the unique backdrop of grotesque body horror and bloody scenes.
Let me explicate that this game looks great and sick. In more expensive words, next gen graphics and gothic style set pieces from hell. It looks the part. 100%.
The sound design is complementary, everything needed to set the creepy mood, ominous sounds, wet squishy noises and offsetting growls from the critters you encounter. It's super effective.Gameplay
A very intuitive experience, the game lacks a formal tutorial, however, you can of course refer to the help menu to find the control mapping.
Discovery and exploration are key in this rather short experience, and with a bit of patience, you'll manage to figure out every challenge the game throws at you, enemies or puzzles alike.
The traversal is self explanatory, it is nearly impossible to get stuck or lost.
Overall, it's a lineair affair, with brief instances of backtracking, required after acquiring certain upgrades that you need to unlock spinelike looking doors, vents and gates.
There are weapons in the game, you can kill enemies so to speak, but it's avoidable in most instances. You have four uniquely looking weapons, the reload animations are dope AF, if you will.
Technically, the game runs well, there's no sight of bugs or crashes, controls are responsive.
It is recommended to use the D-pad rather than the Y button to switch weapons. Aside from the short animation I don't see the reason to use Y, especially when under attack.
The game never gets difficult, you may run short on ammo or health pick ups, but those are never essential to reach the end of the game.
The smaller puzzles can get tedious. The goal is always clear, but you may struggle to arrive at the desired solution. A lot of these are familiar puzzles, just dressed in a rotting meat jacket. Use your rational mind and patience, and you'll find they are as simple as water is wet.
The larger puzzles involve a bit of exploration and reward you with cool and gory animations, the outcomes are surprising, even when everything happens in ''threes'', a common trope in gaming.
There's no artificial game lengthening here, your time is respected which is nice and the pacing feels considered and weighed.Achievements
An easy completion, without looking at a guide, you'll finish with 800/1000, there are two missable achievements in the first act of the game and you can reload Act 1 after finishing the game if you choose Load Game. It's no more than a 2-3 hour completion if you follow a guide.
The achievement art is great, a unique frame for every one of its twelve achievements, in the same vain as the in-game art style.Final Verdict
A nauseating descent into hostile and bizarre territory, Scorn's surrealistic surroundings easily elevate its run of the mill puzzles. Oriented towards a niche audience, it's a grim experience that can't be recommended to everyone. Horror fans are treated to a two to three hour drop off into a nightmare from which they can thankfully wake up. Why the lead character endures such deep suffering is never revealed, but great experiences often leave you wondering. This dark ride is worth a ticket.