Meet Hans Tannhauser, an American student that gets to go on a trip to a small, German village called Trüberbrook. Of course, nothing is as it seems and his journey quickly turns into a mystery sci-fi adventure. That is pretty much what Trüberbrook by developers btf is about. The project knew extreme success on Kickstarter under the quote of ‘a nerd saving the world’. This game caught my attention right away and I was super excited to try it out!
- Graphics: One of the first things I noticed were the special graphics. Trüberbrook uses a very unique visual style: handmade! Literally every move is done piece by piece since miniatures were used. This created a beautiful game with interesting characters and great but generic surroundings. It all has a rather real world feeling. I mean, damn, the developers really hit bull’s eye with the visuals!
- Music: The sound provided throughout your journey fits the atmosphere of the game perfectly. As the developers themselves describe it, it’s some sort of tranquil doom jazz. The soundtrack manages to create a suiting background tune without getting in the way of focusing on the gameplay. Perfectly balanced, I’d say.
- Voice acting: I wasn’t sure about placing this
aspect in the ‘what’s good’ section but I decided to do it anyway. You see, the
whole game is voice acted and that surely deserves an applause since a lot of
dialogue takes place. Even though the English pronunciations aren’t always what
they should be, I’m going to let it slide because the game takes part in
Germany and the developers are German as well.
- Puzzles: Puzzling in a click and point adventure is key. In Trüberbrook, I feel like the developers spent all of their time in the development of the graphics rather than in the development of actual challenging puzzles. You’ll find very easy puzzles, as well as mediocre puzzles, but honestly, you won’t find mind blowing puzzles anywhere in the game. Even though the puzzles are enjoyable, they’re a bit too easy.
- Movie or a game: This game often feels like some sort of interactive movie. Right from the start, you’ll get this feeling, I swear! I mean, the game is based on series like Twin Peaks and Stranger Things so I kind of saw this coming a little but still. There’s for example some scenarios where you just wait and listen, and at the beginning of the game there’s some opening credits where you just watch without being able to skip. Then there is also the fact that the game is divided in chapters. It’s a fun idea to combine a movie with a game but I feel like it’s not completely worked out yet.
- Inventory system: I’m a bit on the fence about the inventory system. This is how it works: you’ll only get like one or two options when you want to use an item you have on something that needs to be fixed, or unlocked or whatever. On the one hand, this is great since you don’t have to try every single thing you have stocked in your inventory. On the other hand, it takes away some of the challenge you usually encounter when having to match various items.
- Story: At the start of the game, I found myself interested in the story. A sci-fi adventure taking place in a 1960’s German town, sick! Unfortunately, this excitement didn’t last long. The story quickly felt rushed and unfinished. It gave me the same feeling the puzzles gave me; not enough time and detail was put into the story. This is a real bummer since I’m sure the developers had a grand story in their heads but it just didn’t come out right.
- I don’t really care about the character’s back that much: I don’t know why but our main character, Hans, seems to be entering in dialogues with his back turned to the player a lot. This isn’t very pleasant since it doesn’t really make you feel like you’re part of the game. How am I supposed to feel involved when Hans is having an important conversation with his back turned to me? Exactly, I don’t.
- Short: The developers themselves say the game offers up to 10 hours of content. This may be the case if you’re a very slow player (or if you’re experiencing some trouble with the puzzles, which I doubt). However, most players will find themselves at the end of the game in about 5 to 6 hours. That’s not a lot. That’s maybe one or two evenings spend behind your computer after work or school. If you know that this game costs 30 Euros, I feel like it should be offering a little more content than just 5 hours.
Trüberbrook mainly scores with its amazing graphics and soundtrack. Clearly a lot of time was put into creating these. However, it seems like this got in the way of creating the rest of the game, like the puzzles, story, and various details. What started out as a successful Kickstarter campaign, has only continued its success in some parts of the game, which feels like a real shame. Nevertheless, it’s an enjoyable game but if you’re looking for something to really invest you’re time in, you can save your money for something else.
Developer: btf Publisher: Headup, WhiserGames
Played on: PC
Also available on: Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4
Time to beat: 5 to 6 hours
Perfect for: Twin Peak kind of series lovers