As a free game for gold members, I didn’t expect much from Pneuma: Breath of Life and because of this, the game didn’t disappoint me. However, there were a number of elements that were pleasantly surprising about this first-person puzzle game.
The story is a weird one. You’re thrown straight into the game and soon learn that you are playing the part of ‘God’ in his creation of a new world. I tended to ignore the story whilst playing though purely due to the insignificance of it, it’s all about the puzzles. However, the ending did have an interesting message so it wasn’t all in vain. Unfortunately, the game has no real replay value upon completion, however each puzzle is unique and during my initial play through it didn’t feel repetitive by any means. The other problem being it only takes a few short hours to fully complete, but we can expect that from a free game.
The game itself is very simple, and it should be. The focus is on the puzzles rather than controls and manoeuverability in the game. It therefore only uses the analog sticks to move, ‘A’ to jump and ‘X’ to interact. This didn’t affect the difficulty of the puzzles however, as I still felt an element of challenge to each one. Whether that be by standing in a key place, rotating objects, or running somewhere in a set time. Saying that, they weren’t revolutionary challenges either, just something I could invest some spare time in if I had a few bad games on Halo if I’m honest…
Graphically the game is very pretty to look at. The environments seem to resemble some sort of Roman theme with lots of pillars and a golden colour scheme. Buildings look refined and the landscape came across as natural. It certainly suits the idea of you playing out the life of God up in the clouds.
Despite you playing the role of God, the game also has a narrator who describes what is happening as you play. This is where I begin to become unsure about the game. Firstly I wonder whether the narrator was really relevent. Was he added for humour? Was he added for genuine direction? Whatever the reason, I didn’t think it was a suitable voice for a narrator as it was neither humorous nor directional.
Although, if you are a gamerscore hunter like myself, you’ll be pleased to hear that this game offers the full 1000G with most of the achievements being acquired just by playing through the game. The others can be gained through separate side puzzles which can be found through the main play through.
To sum up, to me Pneuma: Breath of Life felt more like a taster of what could have been a huge puzzle game. Not to say the game wasn’t a success, from what we can see the game works very well with new innovative puzzles – I just wish there could have been more!
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