We caught wind of The Bunker not that long ago but it definitely piqued our interest over here with the creep factor as well as the fun twist on the point-and-click genre of game. While Splendy Games isn't breaking new ground on using live actors for the visuals and gameplay, it is something that we don't usually get. Not only that but Wales Interactive helped take The Bunker out to a real world bunker to capture all of the performances and interactions to make sure it felt authentic. Without any further delay though, here is our review on how The Bunker played out and worked.
It's 1986 and you've just been born. Bombs have also dropped and you happened to be born in one of the few bunkers that were ready to survive the explosions. Now we flash forward about thirty years and we are the last one alive in The Bunker. We have to keep our sanity somehow and that is through a basic routine and all is well. That is until something goes wrong in the system and we need to figure out how to fix it or make our way into the real world for the first time.
One of the biggest gripes I have here for The Bunker is it is extremely obvious that the core game mechanics were designed with a keyboard and mouse to be the intended input devices. Usually this isn't much of a deal throughout the game until you need to complete some QTEs in the game that never seem to have placement or action truly defined or in a location on the screen that makes sense. A little bit of time with The Bunker will get you ready for the basics but when it maters it doesn't seem to help. I missed almost all of the time sensitive QTEs due to the fact that the cursor moved so slow and always seemed to be on the wrong side of the screen.
The only other real issue I had with The Bunker here would have to be the fact that none of the motions and movements in the game seem to be able to be skipped. Even if you've seen them multiple times over. Not that huge of an issue in all honesty but when you have no clue where to go and you are trying to explore everything it is quite annoying and frustrating when you can't skip the animation of the actor walking down the hall of the billionth time. Maybe this was a pacing mechanic to make The Bunker feel like it lasts a lot longer than the game was but it would have been nice for Splendy Games to add in the option to skip the animations on multiple occurrences.
I will fully admit that the story above doesn't really sound like something amazing here. That is really the basics without spoiling a lot of the fun of The Bunker which is to explore and find out all of the little details in the game that build the story of the last thirty years that this guy had to go through. Also where some of the neurosis came from and fears have come from that help the descent into madness come or go quicker. Plain and simple the story written here is one of the biggest selling points for The Bunker and it left me with a lot to think on and digest afterward. Something a lot of games have not been able to do recently.
As I mentioned above, the live action aspect of The Bunker isn't something completely new to video games but it is rarely seen anymore. What this aspect of the game did accomplish though was making the above story a much stronger one given the location and the feelings that could be inspired by the actual actors and I don't think CG characters could have done the same thing. Usually we have to build those feelings for yourself based on virtual characters we could mostly not care about. The live actor made that separation next to impossible to have and worked insanely well. Even though the story mostly played out the same each time it truly felt like the actor was new and original each time due to the connection that could be formed here.
Last on the list here has to be the fact that The Bunker didn't go with the whole pixel hunt path for all of the little extras to be found in the game. That is usually one of the things that bugs me to no end with games like this and I spend hours searching around for the one pixel that I need to click on to get the item I'm looking for. This extends out to the fact that the physical item is in the screen space and none of them are in places that make no sense for the overall game. Again, I'm not going to spoil the locations but the best part here is that not only do they make sense to find, the vanish from the area and the scene was re-shot without the item so there is no need to think you skipped it by accident.
For the real moment of truth here, should you pick up The Bunker or not? It is fully my opinion that while the gameplay didn't move over from PC to console all that well, it is a small annoyance and something that can be overlooked due to the amazing acting, story, and pretty much everything else the game has to offer. It is a bit short when compared to traditional games out there but at least there are a few extra branches in The Bunker to give you some replay factor. I do recommend that you give it a try and hope you do.
I give The Bunker 5 Levels on the Level scale.
The Bunker — Announcement Trailer
The Bunker was developed by Splendy Games and published by Wales Interactive for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC on September 20th, 2016. A digital PS4 copy of the game was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes.