I think it is fair to say that a lot of games unintentionally push plot development to the side in order to give gamers better gameplay or simply due to time constraints. For gems like The Bunker however, story structure and plot development are center stage. This story is of John, the lone survivor of a nuclear bunker designed to protect people after some sort of war. Over the years, John has developed a daily routine that he attempts to perform without change. This all changes of course, when some sort of alarm starts going off, forcing John to leave the safety of his room for the first time in a long time.
With the whole game being portrayed in live-action, I was concerned that the game would have no options or little to no gameplay. Much to my surprise, I missed several options and quite enjoyed the gameplay that accompanied the live-action scenes. The gameplay consists mostly of clicking various points (once) on the screen (sometimes within a time limit), tapping a point fast enough, and dragging points in order to open doors and such. This is all mixed in with some light puzzles and the occasional scene with a hard to see objective. Since the whole game is live-action, I am very pleased with how these gameplay elements were implemented. Every action feels like it adds to the scene instead of simply moving it along.
With such a story driven experience, I must admit I was a bit disappointed when I finished the game in just under two hours. At first, I was upset that there wasn’t more to play. Then it dawned on me that I had just played a game with the length of many movies. With this is mind, I realized just how much work must have gone into making all the optional scenes that can be found by keen eyed gamers. So after some thought, I am not at all upset with length (besides simply wanting to play more of a wonderful game).
Besides being in live-action, The Bunker also sports an ominous sound throughout. Always ramping up the tension when John is met with trouble and resting when John is more or less ‘safe’, the music is always just right. Just one of these troubles John will face is his repressed childhood memories that will start flooding back as he makes his way through the treacherous bunker. These memories help to not only tell the story of why and how John is where he is, but also to show just how hard it is for him to push himself to figure out how to handle the alarm.
Early in The Bunker, John is forced to go down a set of stairs to reach the next level. When he attempts to do this, he is met with a psychological backlash that defines John for most of the game. Despite this, John talks himself into working deeper and deeper into the complex to work out what has gone wrong and disturbed his routine in the first place. To this end, I believe John is quite courageous and I felt like I could relate to him as I guided him from room to room.
Sporting a sort of psychological thriller feel throughout, The Bunker manages to be tense and interesting from start to finish leaving players with a few questions to ponder about. The absolutely wonderful thing about The Bunker is that, despite being thrilling, there aren’t any true jumpscares and, despite being story driven, by the end of the title nearly every question about the mysterious bunker and it’s main characters will be answered. I don’t believe I can give the team behind this game enough credit when I say I felt satisfied by the end of this short game. If you enjoy point-and-click style games and/or enjoy interesting (and unique!) stories, The Bunker will more than likely be for you. I have to admit, besides a single scene I had an issue with, I cannot find any problems with this game. Everyone that worked on it must have truly cared because it shows.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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