TRAUMA – Game Review

TRAUMA

developed by Krystian Majewski

TRAUMA Website

“Unique” is a word that I, and numerous other people, use far too often when describing something that might only be slightly different.  While I do believe that anything which doesn’t fall into the category of “Average” or “Common” could fall under the description of being unique, I also believe that every once in a while a unique game is created that seems familiar yet gives a different kind of feeling or experience than any other games it shares similarities with. TRAUMA is very much one of those types of games that sits comfortably next to the word “unique”.  It has gameplay that is somewhat familiar, but definitely feels original and distinct.

The narrative is told through the story of a young woman who has survived a car crash.  It is through her dreams, while being hospitalized, that the player follows a somewhat surreal journey of the character’s exploration of her subconscious.  I could give more of the story away, but I would prefer to encourage gamers to explore the plot, environments, and gameplay for themselves.  It would spoil the experience by giving away too much.  With that said, you may have played games like Myst or other first person point-and-click adventure games like it, but I’m almost certain that you haven’t played one quite like TRAUMA.

Where those other games tend to more heavily rely on elements of puzzle and problem solving, TRAUMA focuses more on giving the player a visual and audio experience.  Although it plays similarly, though less conventionally, than those other First Person point-and-click adventure games, it does feel more extraordinary and special in it’s own unique way.  The game might not be an experience that every type of gamer can appreciate, but it is a compelling experience with innovative ideas and gameplay.  The game mechanics, for example, definitely resemble that of other adventure games but there are also aspects that make the game feel like a Hidden Object Game.

The game is basically broken down into 4 chapters, or dream sequences, and these are usually accompanied by a prologue or an epilogue.  The controls are relatively simple.  Movement and exploration throughout these scenes are handled by pointing and clicking on highlighted areas and directions.  Sometimes objectives can seem obvious at first, but often a dream sequence will require a bit of exploration and discovery.  Early on, players will learn how to use some of the unique mechanics needed to manipulate their surroundings in order to progress.  It’s not a very difficult game, but what might often seem obvious ends up requiring closer observation.

The game uses photographic visuals that are extremely detailed.  Between dream sequences, the prologues and epilogues mentioned earlier, use short FMV cutscenes to bookend each chapter, exploring the story and situation more deeply.  The visuals are excellent, while the the graphics are crisp, rich and of a high quality. The environments within each dream are, I believe, intentionally haunting and lonely.  These elements are impressive and they combine to make an atmospheric and engrossing setting.

Similar to the graphics, the audio is also rich, but somewhat haunting.  The effect isn’t meant to scare gamers away, but rather to give the sense of being lost and alone.  It’s all very effective and it enhances the way the story plays out and the game feels.

Conclusion:
TRAUMA is a game for mature, thoughtful gamers.  It’s not an M-Rated game, nor is it meant to be played only by adults.  It’s a mature game because the gameplay is thought provoking and engaging.  The provocative story leads to questions about life, death, love, and loss.  It’s not a fast-paced game, but it’s not meant to be.  The plot, settings, and environments are something that are meant to be explored, taken in, and experienced.  I mentioned it earlier, but this is one of those games that truly is unique in it’s own special way.  It will definitely have it’s appeal among adventure game fans but it may even appeal to gamers who enjoy change and trying something new.  There are hidden endings among each of the 4 dream sequences, and a few hidden bonuses which gives players reason to return and explore.

TRAUMA is available for PC, Mac, and Linux and it can also be played online in your web browser via the games website for free!  I would recommend however, that if you appreciate the narrative experience that you buy the full high quality downloadable version.  Even if this doesn’t sound like your type of game I would recommend taking the time to try an indie game that explores human emotion in a unique and subtle way.  You can support the developer by purchasing the full downloadable version of TRAUMA through the homepage located hereTRAUMA is also available for the low price of $6.99 on Steam.

 


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