It could be said that a good point and click adventure is like putting a warm blanket around you, turning up the heating on a cold winter’s night, and kicking back to drink some hot chocolate that has been laced with whiskey. It’s a very familiar genre to play and harks back to the bygone days of gaming in the ‘90s with solid characters, fascinating stories, and beautifully created, highly interesting, worlds. Games like Monkey Island, Discworld, Broken Sword, and many more were the staple diet for us gamers back then. Now though the genre is back and in Trüberbrook we get taken on a sci-fi adventure set in 1960’s Germany, before questioning the whole concept of the multiverse, the whole universe, and the bratwurst.
You play through Trüberbrook as a quantum physicist called Hans who turns up in a sleepy country town after winning a raffle prize. He soon realises that everything is quite peculiar – and utterly wrong – after he is robbed in his hotel by a mysterious otherworldly figure. He teams up with a woman called Gretchen before we see them both embarking on a madcap adventure which involves time portals, depressed robots, double-dealing, and a local music festival. The story is great, written with energy, wit, and enthusiasm. At no point does it take itself too seriously, but it comes with plenty of engaging characters you meet along the way, with nice backstories and loads of heart.
Trüberbrook plays like a typical point and click adventure, but with most of the annoyances taken away. You walk around the screen like normal, utilising a number of options that let you interact with certain objects or the people you meet. There’s a handy little feature – found by pressing RB – which lists all the interaction points available. This is invaluable because without this feature you would certainly miss a few. From there it’s a traditional journey of collecting objects, talking to people to unlock clues and then trying to combine or use the objects with something to progress the story along.
To make this a bit easier there is the addition of a nifty little feature which sees the game automatically combining objects for you. This saves endless moments of trying to mix random items together in the hope that something might work.
Trüberbrook is a tricky game though – as most good point and click games in this genre are – and a couple of times I’ve found myself wishing to restart things again because I felt I missed something. Some of the puzzles are intuitive, while others require a sense of the surreal and the quirky side of the brain to be put into overdrive. There are a couple of clunky moments as well – particularly in regards the movement – and a few super annoying sections that take place in the dark, leaving it nearly impossible to see what is what without the hint markers. It has to be said that the save system in the game is a bit unclear as well and there will be many times where you are not entirely convinced that Trüberbrook has autosaved or not. I’ve had to replay a few sections again to catch up when I rejoined the game after a break.
For the most part I have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Trüberbrook, especially in terms of the gameplay and depending on how your mind works, could well find yourself spending anything from 2-10 hours involved in the mysteries. You can also replay the ending to get two different results and – as always – there are a multitude of achievements to find, what with all the backstories of the characters you meet along the way in this fascinating world.
The best bit about Trüberbrook on Xbox One though is in the visual elements. The graphical style is stunning, with the development team utilising a technique called ‘photogrammetry’. This has seen them make real miniature sets and scale models that are scanned and animated beautifully. It’s like a Wallace and Gromit styled world – but that’s a lazy comparison because it is so much more than that. I have however absolutely loved spending time with all the wonderfully created characters and sets, and there is a scene in the opening moment that is set in a gas station – I would happily buy a picture of that and hang it on the wall. The soundtrack is also very good, coming across as hugely atmospheric with a very B-movie feel to it. The voice acting is solid and quite camp at times which fits in with the tone of the piece.
I’ve really enjoyed my time with this beautiful little point and click adventure. The story, writing, and characters are great with some brilliant world building moments and narrative ideas. The gameplay is solid and traditional, but if you dislike this genre of game then I’m afraid you won’t have much fun here – there may be some helpful little features to aid the experience, but it can be difficult and confusing at times. If you’re looking for something slightly different in tone, with a great story, some slow paced thoughtful gameplay and visuals that look like a piece of art then take a trip to Trüberbrook. Just be aware that you might never want to leave.