Welcome to my review for The Bunker.
Developed by: Splendy Games
Published by: Wales Interactive
Release Date: September 23rd 2016
Price: £15.99 - Currently on sale for £12.79 until 8th October.There may be potential spoilers about the game, so only read ahead if you don't mind potential spoilers.
Just how far would you go to survive? What would you do to make sure that your life is paramount above all others? Who is the real bad guy, and when would you find out? Several questions you may have when playing The Bunker. A dark and gritty experience about life in a secret government bunker, after the bombs fell and decimated the UK.
The story starts with you not even born. Your mother is in labour as the bombs start falling. Chaos spreads across the country, and wipes out the population. The bunker is now your home, it is all you know. It is all you'll ever know. Cold, uninviting, cramped.
You need to survive, but depleting food rations cause panic, and an unexplained disease ravages the population leaving you and your loving mother as the sole survivors of The Bunker. Your only friend, your only companion. She falls ill, and is dying. This is the beginning of your story, and in typical British style, it is not a happy introduction.
You are thrust into a sad moment from the start. Your mother is old, dying and drawing her last breaths. John is panicking, he doesn't want to lose his mother. She is the only person he has ever been close to over the last 30 years, but succumbs an passes away. You are now all alone. Everyone in the bunker that you knew has finally gone. Nothing but silence left, and your daily routine which you made a promise to your mother to stick too.
The Bunker offers a unique live action experience for you, and works with a point and click interface. Sometimes you have a camera following you as you make decisions, and others it is from the point of view from a security camera. The mood and atmosphere that is present within the game engages and draws you into life in the bunker. Flashbacks are triggered as you progress, sending you back in time to when you were a young boy. This fills in the back story without giving too much away. Bishop, who is the General and therefore in charge, is a tough military man, who does very little if nothing to endear himself to you, and constantly berates you as a child and sees you as a hindrance.
A fairly short game, or interactive movie if you prefer, is just the right length. It is a linear experience, so going off the beaten path is limited to just a couple of rooms. But exploration is vital should you look to find the collectables, which help reveal the back story with documents you can read, carved wooden toy soldiers which are various people around the bunker and cassette players which are recordings of people who were once walking the rooms and corridors of the bunker with
The game ups the ante, and panic when there is a scene where John has an accident. It's far from pleasant, and grim in nature. I won't explain any further, but suffice to say it makes your journey harder. The reactor is failing, and you need to escape. Radiation is flooding the bunker, do you stay and succumb to the radiation sickness, or risk leaving?
As the cut scenes unfold, you find out the true horrors that preceded you. Is Bishop really a bad guy? Just why was he seen with the fire axe hunting you and your mother down. Did he have the best intentions for the bunker, or had he lost his mind with the isolation? And just who was it that caused the deaths of the entire population of the bunker? You find out all the answers to your questions at the end.
Graphics: Given its live action, this plays no part in the game. But camera work is perfect. Capturing Adam Brown as a timid grown man, who was coddled as a child, and still presents a child like demeanour. Scared, unsure, and a mommy's boy. Sarah Greene as his mother, determined to look after her son, and Grahame Fox as Bishop. The military general who takes no nonsense.
Music/FX: Your typical psychological horror moments. But not bland by any means. Ambient noises set the mood and atmosphere, and keeps you wondering what lies ahead. Sound effects are all real noises from the recordings. So, as real as it gets.
Gameplay: A point and click interface that works well, without having a cluttered UI. Very easy to use.
Longevity: Only clicking in at around 2-3 hours, but what a 2-3 hours you will have. I was sucked in from the off right up until the end. Which ending you have is totally up to you. Should I stay or should I go now? You choose.
Achievements: An easy 1000g to add to your collection. Take a collectables guide with you, as if you miss just one, you will need to start all over again as there is no chapter select.
Conclusion: The Bunker is a fantastic journey through the story of John's existence, and the terror he faces on a psychological level, to the failing reactor. What is revealed at the end was impressive. A well written script and story, and one game that even though you will likely only play once, but one that if psychological horror is your cup of tea, you will enjoy.
A review key was supplied for purposes of review.
Agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments. I would appreciate feedback, regarding not just the score, but how the review was written. Always looking to improve myself.