My first 2 hours with Master Reboot
Okay guys, I really want to talk to you about Master Reboot.
It’s a game I have been curious about since it was (quietly) announced. Something about it grabbed my attention. I haven’t investigated the game very much, but from the very few reviews and impressions I came across, the game seemed to have a somewhat lukewarm reception.
But still, I really want to talk to you about Master Reboot; really. I don’t think a common review, or as I’m more accustomed to, a Things x 5 post would do the trick. Maybe I’m wrong, but maybe Master Reboot is special. Maybe not. I don’t know. But, I want to know.
So, I’ll try something a bit new (for me, at least) and spend the next 2 hours playing the game and, every 15 minutes or whenever I see fit, I’ll stop and share my impressions. It’ll be raw and unfiltered. Once again, I have a very, very basic knowledge of the game’s plot, gameplay, and overall feel – so you could say I’m a Master Reboot virgin. Maybe I’ll end up hating it. Maybe I’ll even give up after an 1 hour. Anyway, let’s jump into it…
It’s 8:33 PM, on a pretty common Tuesday night. I’ve just powered up my Wii U and started Master Reboot.
Seems like I have the option to choose between English and Cymraeg (?). English it is.
Let’s start the game for real. The title screen is a bit ugly.
Right from the start, I like the style of the game. It’s very minimalistic in its approach, with low polygon models, plain colors and crude shading. From the first scene, a sculpture of a train wreck on a remote island, I went to a forest during a sunset and now I’m in an office lobby watching a corporate video about a company named Mystery Foundation (really great marketing consultant here) which collects memories of dead people in a digital world that the living can visit; and I’m right in the middle of it. Also, it seems I’m collecting rubber ducks.
From what I understand, I’m exploring my own memories. I was in a neon filled hub with many doors leading to different memories that I assume are mine. I’m in the “childhood memories” level (if I can say so) looking for 3 keys. I’m also very small, exploring a doll house, toys scattered in a child room. The game seems to be a bit random about its design and gameplay approach.
The art style reminds me, in a good way, of the classic Dire Strait‘s Money For Nothing clip. But it reminds me of something else too, I just cannot put my finger on it.
The game is a bit rough around the edges. My character passed through an object (funnily enough, it was a jack-in-the-box) and I got stuck inside, forcing me to restart the game, loosing my progress in the level.
The game is really embracing its digital world as I was escaping from a giant teddy bear (I told you it was random) while destroying barriers that were blocking my path by clicking on pop-ups. I’m now in the “school memories.” There seems to be a Ringu (The Ring)-style freaky girl wandering around too.
Gameplay is really puzzle focused. Nothing really difficult so far. First-person platforming is a bit lame but I haven’t encountered much so far.
Damn it. A piano puzzle.
An easy one.
Now I remember what the game art direction reminds me of: Another World but in 3D. It’s pretty cool even if it’s a bit off sometimes. The illustrations used during cutscenes aren’t very good and certainly do not fit with the rest of the game.
The gameplay is really about solving puzzles, getting or unlocking keys and collecting rubber ducks (there is a certain number of them per level which unveil further memories). There is also this Ringu girl jumping at you (she really got me the first time) occasionally.
It really feels like a classic point and click/adventure game but from a first-person perspective. Despite its rough edges, I’m enjoying it. They got the atmosphere right. Controls are adequate but really floaty, but since the gameplay is relatively slow it doesn’t bother me much.
Like many adventure games, some of the puzzles are illogical. I’m in an abandoned playground (well, everything feels abandoned in this game) and the puzzle feels a bit obtuse. Floaty controls don’t help much. Seems like I’m soon approaching my 2 hours playtime.
Ok, the playground puzzle really doesn’t make any sense. A rocking horse firing lasers from its eyes, really?
Now, there is a crow shooting a sonar beam from its beak. Why not.
Done with the playground puzzles that despite being silly were kinda cool, even if it was just finding some missing pieces or fitting the correct object in the correct place. The results were always surprisingly weird.
I’ve jumped out of the park (remember: digital world, random…) and I’m now surrounded by platforms and I need to escape the rising water. The game is really poor at guiding you, it’s my fifth attempt and I keep drowning, might be a good moment to stop playing the game.
Got it. Platforming is not the game’s strength.
Back at the game’s hub. It’s nice how elements from the levels (memories) you’ve beaten are integrated into the hub. There is now a floating car, huge teddy bear and a playground in the neon filled hub.
… and, that’ll be it for tonight.
So I guess that covers my first 2 hours with Master Reboot. I don’t know if it’s a good game, but it got a certain something, a visual flair, that’s for sure. While the gameplay didn’t wow me, the strange, surreal environments are fun to interact with. It’s a neat little curiosity and certainly a fun oddity. It’s actually pretty much how I’ve envisioned the game would be: a moody, atmospheric first-person exploration game. It’s not hidden gem I was secretly hoping for, from my short playtime there were too many rough edges and odd design decisions to really elevate the game’s best ideas, but I’m looking forward to going back to it.
This feature has been made based on a Nintendo eShop code provided by Wales Interactive. Master Reboot is available to download on the Nintendo eShop for the Wii U for $14.99. It is also available on the PlayStation Network for PS3 and Steam.