Master Reboot (2014) PlayStation 3 | Game Review

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Avatar for patientgamer9
2 years ago

Not only is this one of the stranger games in the great PS3 library, but this Welsh-and-proud indie is also even more bizarre than most rarebit-fuelled dreams. And as someone whose proclivity for cheesy treats before bedtime has given me quite some insight into the darker side of the human psyche, I say that with some authority.

We’re talking about an experiential puzzler in which you stroll through half-forgotten memories in the Soul Cloud, a metaphysical backup service that keeps the dead alive in some post-HTML5 form. It’s a hallucinogenic soup of ideas from System Shock 2, Black Mirror and Vanilla Sky.

Essentially you’re trying to find order in the chaos of the Soul Cloud’s downed servers, solving puzzles to file away memories correctly. Periodically, a malicious doll-like girl appears to stress-test your sphincter, while during calmer moments, you stumble upon documents that go some way to explaining your surroundings. There are puzzles you’ve mastered numerous times in many a game before it – moving bookcases, hidden keys, etc. – but although it’s not mentally taxing, Master Reboot’s locations are often haunting and affecting.

Like Lady Gaga and the doughnut burger, Master Reboot possesses a kind of ugly beauty. Sometimes the atmospheric lights and low-poly architecture’s positioned so harmonically that you stop dead and drink it in, such as when you approach a circus tent from misty woodlands or later when you’re exploring an unsettling doll’s house in skeletal form. However, in other instances, you feel as though you’re inhabiting the first draft of a location, thrown together as a placeholder environment.

Sometimes you’re guided expertly from point to point by lighting cues and intuitive puzzles; other times, you’re left to flounder, hacking away at the square in the hopes of unlocking an unseen door. It’s here that the bugs make themselves known – such as when you respawn near unavoidable danger (screw you forever, oncoming traffic level).

It’s playful, original and very rough around the edges. But if you want to know exactly how weird PS3 can get, you’re going to have to brave some unintuitive design, wrong-side-of-minimalist visuals and a few bugs. I’d advise you to take the plunge, however, because you’ll remember bits of Master Reboot long after you’ve forgotten Syndicate or Tron: Evolution. Master Reboot is Journey’s creepy mate – minimalist, experience-driven and a bit untidy, but worth a look for anyone who likes their puzzles served macabrely.


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Avatar for patientgamer9
2 years ago

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