Thursday, 15 September 2011

Trauma review

Trauma is a point and click story. I say this because whilst it presents itself as a game, and the developer would certainly call it a game, but it's hard, as an experienced gamer, to refer to Trauma as one. That's not to say it's bad at what it does though...

Trauma takes place inside the mind of a young lady in a coma. It's a very different coma from the previous game-in-a-coma I reviewed, Driver: San Francisco. It's a mature experience that the modern gamer will not enjoy. It's for someone looking for an absolutely unique storytelling experience. Nothing is told to you. The game is apparently about the lead character coming to terms with the death of her parents, but this isn't told to you at any stage, it is only the blurb that tells us. You have to piece together and make your own decision on what the metaphors represent. 
These mysterious objects litter the world in Trauma

The game plays just like any point and click adventure. Look at the image, which are all real photographs in Trauma, find a significant section, and click it. The image will zoom in, or change to a new location, in which case you must repeat the above process. Throughout each level are photographs and items, which help you piece together the memories. Another unique gameplay mechanic is the draw system. To interact with the world and objects, you simply draw a specific shape. It is really good at streamlining navigation, but that's about it. Once you have used it a few times the novelty wears off and it's just the quickest way to get around.

There are four dreams overall, and the problem is that each of them only take about five minutes to complete. There are many secrets and alternate endings, but again, it doesn't take long to find all of them. You could find each ending and complete the game to a 100% in one afternoon session. 
The game is appropriately dreamy

Trauma is not a game to play if you're waiting for Call of Duty or Gears of War, it simply won't satisfy the same needs and hunger for destruction. The same can be said for fans of other point and click adventures such as the Monkey Island series and the Broken Sword games; it doesn't necessarily mean that Trauma is the game for you. It is for a mature audience, willing to look beyond the surface and put the pieces of the puzzle together in their mind. It is definitely an innovative game, and an impressive example of indie game development. Krystian Majewski has definitely created a unique and intelligent game, and it's exciting to think of what he could make in the future, particularly if he decides to do something a little more mainstream. Trauma is simply too niche for it's own good, and will be overlooked by many.
by Louis Gardner

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