Trial – Somerville – Meeting of the Third Kind | Xbox One

Although Somerville was the first title from the Jumpship studio, its creator Dino Patti was not on his first try. He is actually the co-founder of the Playdead studio and participated in the development of Limbo and Inside, two nuggets of the independent scene. The final gameplay presented is quite promising and we can’t wait to get our hands on this narrative adventure.

Land of foreigners

The introduction opens with an average family returning to their country. While we sleep, strange lights wake us up from our slumber. After determining the origin, we noticed the presence of a strange spacecraft in the sky. This meeting of the third type could be the beginning of a beautiful story, but events quickly change. Our family found itself in the heart of a fight that never understood the ins and outs. As the war continues above their heads, a spacecraft crashes into their home.

Listening only to his courage, our anonymous character tries to help an extraterrestrial humanoid. Before he could remove his hand, our father was struck by lightning and lost consciousness. When he woke up, he found that the rest of his family had disappeared. Far from surrendering himself to the unthinkable, he embarks on a journey and crosses the wastelands in search of his loved ones.

A proven recipe

With this new title, Dino Patti does not take any risks because he uses all the mechanics that made his previous video games a success. First the simple gameplay. A key allows you to interact with the environment, to overcome an obstacle and activate a switch. Two others are associated with the powers we inherited from our extraterrestrial encounter. Then the game carefully switches between meditation phases that require solving environmental puzzles and action phases to escape the intruder.

The artistic direction remains in the same vein as Inside. The environments are varied but overall quite dark and heavy. This of course contributes to the overall situation of the title and the transcription of the drama that our character is going through. The game does not include any dialogue and the narration goes through, among other things, wisely chosen music. Through them we felt the different emotions of our father. Our avatar’s grief, fear, resignation and hope flooded our ears. The overall success was very successful, but we want developers to step out of their comfort zone.

There is still room for improvement

Dino Patti has accustomed us to conclusions that invite the player to ponder. Somerville is no exception to this rule and we have more unanswered questions than a real ending to this adventure. Therefore, everyone is free to interpret the information facilitated and make themselves “The end”. We only regret that this end point is so chaotic and that the final chapters seem almost unnecessary.

What can also be boring is the severity of our behavior. In his travels, we felt all the misfortunes of the world weighing on his shoulders. This is obviously an artistic choice but it sometimes leads to failures in action phases due to poor placement.

Life aside, the five to six hours required to complete the fourteen chapters of the title remains the average of the genre. The game involves the discovery of collectibles that require the player to explore the stages of exploration. Finding it is slightly life-extending with no effort thanks to the integration of a level selection menu.

We had fun during the Somerville test but there is still an aftertaste in the mouth when the adventure is over. A slight sense of deja vu linked to the studio’s lack of risk-taking. However, it deserves a place among the pearls of the independent scene. The arrival of the game from the day of its release on Xbox Game Pass, November 15, 2022, will be an opportunity for everyone to make their own opinion on the matter.

Tested on Xbox Series X. (Optimized)

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