Like the word itself, Is something many people wasn’t aware of a few weeks ago.
But as screenshots of the First person puzzle game started to surface, many took notice at what are possibly some of the best looking screens from an Indie Game.
Published under the ID@XBox program, By Deco Digital and Bevel Studio’s, Pneuma : Breath of Life see’s you as a god, controlling everything, but also following a path…
As the game begin’s you hear the voice of Pneuma, as you start your journey into the breath of life, You can Walk, Look around, even take a small jump using the ‘A’ button, and Interact ‘X’ button, make controls pretty simple, But the puzzles, far from it.
The surroundings literally unravels in front of your eyes, starting from darkness, stairs, doors, decoration and then colour start to fall into place to create the word around you, It’s a unique and mouthwatering start to a very unique game.
After the first 5 minute Prologue (Which you can see below), You’ll soon be doing more than looking at a few doors, and pulling some switches.
You realise that while the audio direction is there to let you know what you’ve done, there’s very little hand-holding, Pneuma is a challenging Puzzle game, and It doesn’t want to help you breeze through it.
Graphically it looks great, baring in mind this is an Indie title, developed by a small team in Derbyshire, They’ve done a great job of not only creating the game word, but also immersing you into it, Sure there’s not much variation between that flame and another, or the room on the left and the room on the right, but each of the 6 chapters feels different, and overall the graphics play a small part in a much larger world.
Next, is the sound, as you’ll hear from the Gameplay above, there’s some top-notch voice acting by Pneuma ‘Jay Britton’, and the Smooth and Soothing soundtrack throughout your journey set’s the mellow pace.
This is a game that breaks numerous walls, and manages to put across a few serious points, while coming across as the exact opposite.
It all works incredibly well, Interesting without boredom, and as we all know it’s hard to find serious and interesting without a hint of boredom setting in, But Pneuma manages it to perfection.
The range of puzzles throughout the game are nearly all visual although of different varieties, physics play a large part in it, and on one particular occasion you’ll be required to put thst tiny hop of a jump to test.
Some are quite obvious, but without any assistance your eyes are your main ally, Sometimes just walking around will give you an idea of what to do, an adequately placed Switch, holes in convenient places high atop two towers, But other times, such as the first real puzzle ‘The Spiral Stairs’ You’ll spend minutes trying to figure out what you’re supposed to be doing, and when you do get past the section, you feel a fool for taking so long over it. Add to this some truly taxing puzzles, Which take far longer, and require trying and testing everything you’ve learnt so far, And a 20 minute chapter, might take you a few hours.
It’s worth mentioning that fans of achievements will love and hate Pneuma, 850 gamerscore for completion, which is a just reward for some really tricky sections, but If you want the full 1000g you will have to discover all of the three hidden secrets, We won’t go into too much detail, as that’d ruin the fun, But of the Body, Soul & Spirit secrets, one is pretty obvious to an eagle-eye, and the other two while both rewarded with exploration, vary from one puzzling task, to a lot of time, effort and working out how to get from I to V.
Finally, is the Story, And that’s something I’d really love to share with you, (and I’m sure somebody else will, and ruin the fun) But the creation of the world when you start, the excellent narrative throughout, and to taking the Apple from the tree in the final section, you realise that the claim of Pneuma : Breath of Life, being an Interactive Story about self-discovery is exactly right, and when you do finally pass that final puzzle sequence, and witness the Epilogue, You’ll soon realise the whole basis of the game, the journey and the breath of life, Is about you, and It’s done in an incredibly impressive way.
As for Longevity, that one is up to you, If you want to ruin it, and follow guides or YouTube videos, you may find yourself feeling short after a number hours.
But If you are going to take on the challenge, and work out the individual puzzles, the time and experience is priceless, and could well see you spending anything from 5 to 50 hours depending on your thinking and patience.