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  • Chad Myers

Game Review #290: Trüberbrook (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Chad M.

Developer: btf

Publisher: Headup Games

Category: Adventure, Puzzle

Release Date: 4.17.2019

Price (at time of review): $29.99 (digital) | $39.99 (physical)

Buy Trüberbrook from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Buy Trüberbrook from Amazon here.

Zee Germans Are Here!

I’ve been a big fan of point-and-click adventure games since I was a kid playing Monkey Island. Now, when a new point-and-click comes out, I check to see if it is worth my cash to add it to the collection. I was spoiled for a while, because Telltale Games was making some solid point-and-click visual novels. Now comes Trüberbrook, a new game that is very different from anything I’ve played lately; it comes from the German developer btf.

The developers took to crowdfunding through Kickstarter to make this game become a reality. The goal was €80,000 (approximately $89,000 USD), and they crushed the goal by hitting €198,142 (approximately $221,000 USD) with 5,078 backers. My hopes were high once I perused the Kickstarter campaign page, and now the day is here, and I’ve played for around 8 hours completing the campaign, so let’s jump in and talk about it.

A Nerd Can Find The His Way Around

In Trüberbrook, you play as main protagonist, Hans Tannhauser, an American scientist who has won a lottery that he can’t even remember entering, and the prize is a trip to the small German village, Trüberbrook. The developers say the story took inspiration from the shows Twin Peaks and The X-Files—and it shows—but I was also getting some Wes Anderson film vibes from the overall story and characters.

This takes place during the Cold War in 1967, and I have to say, everything here had me so pumped to play this game, as all these check my boxes for what should be a fabulous game; but I felt the story was good, not great. It starts off quirky and in the right direction, and then goes in another direction. Also, by the time I was really getting into the game and the story, the game suddenly ended; and I have to say, it was lacking in that feeling of accomplishment I usually get when completing a game. Saying all these things, the story still has its charms, and I wish they focused on those more.

Let’s Go Find Things

I’ve played many point-and-click adventure games, and know what to expect; but I also have very high expectations, and I am always looking for new and exciting things within the genre. Trüberbrook has a couple of levels that really shine (levels 1 & 3) and have you work to find objects and place items together to make things work, but outside of these levels—which had some really fun moments—the rest seemed to just have me talking to NPCs and constantly running around fetching things to make the mission work, but it just felt disjointed and like busy work sometimes, and didn’t help to flesh out the characters.

One thing that was odd was the control configuration when selecting things. The left stick would allow me to move Hans and the right stick was the pointer, but if I landed on something that I could interact with, it would pull the cursor, and if two things are directly next to one another, then it would do a tug-of-war trying to hit the right one. When I popped this in to handheld to run some errands, I was ready to free myself up and use the touchscreen to better move along. Then I found a huge misstep, as there is NO touchscreen availability, which left me just baffled.

Audio & Visuals

This is where the game wins me back over in leaps and bounds, as the music and art are divine, and done with so much love that you can feel it oozing off the screen. The music is perfectly placed in every scene. It comes in and is comforting, and at a moment’s notice, it can be haunting and mysterious; but always beautiful with the jazz feel. The voice acting, which is done through the entire game, is superb, and gives a very high-quality feel to the game, as everyone here was on their A-game and played their parts perfectly. I only wish there were more interactions to flesh out the characters more, since the acting was done so well.

The artwork is another smash home run by the team. With the music and voice acting, then this beautiful canvas of art, it truly breathes life into the game. The characters art style reminded me of Chicken Run and Wallace and Gromit, but as mentioned before, the characters themselves had a Wes Anderson feel. This left me wanting everyone to be even more quirky and weirder than they already were. When playing, you can’t help but wonder how they created these beautiful sceneries, and the answer is by hand. All of this is first created by hand, then the models are digitized using a technique called photogrammetry, and later they are re-topologized. This way, they get highly detailed polygon models that blend perfectly with the digital characters; and I’ll say it one last time, it is beautifully done.

It’s A Wrap!!!

As you can probably tell, this was a mixed bag for me, and usually when I have this feeling, it tends to mean I didn’t have a good time or that I was left unsatisfied. That’s the opposite here, as I just had such high hopes and saw potential for what could’ve been, if given more time to connect to the NPCs and the story itself. The control issue with the pointer, and handheld mode not utilizing the touchscreen did feel like bad choices, but I was so won over by the presentation that I couldn’t help but play through with a smile on my face. I truly hope this is the first in a trilogy, and I hope the team goes back and sees the shortcomings so they can work out the small things and come back with a killer story, as this was enjoyable even if it left me wanting more.

Score: 7.5/10

Buy Trüberbrook from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Buy Trüberbrook from Amazon here.

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