1917: The Prologue
1917: The Prologue is a first-person narrative-driven psychological horror game with strong room escape elements mixed into it. 1917 seems to be an excellent psychological horror set back in fall 1917, right after the Russian Revolution. The developers have gone to great lengths to set the mood appropriately for the era, with its design concept, gameplay, voice acting, puzzles, etc.
Gameplay: 1917: The Prologue offers a short yet ambitious dark exploration through mysterious circumstances. The base gameplay is straight forward with simple WASD movement, E and left click for interaction, F to light matches, and right to put the match out.
The game progresses through stages by interacting with items and clues, helped by narration that follows them, combined with meticulously designed puzzles.
This progression system is very detailed and well put together. Although all of the narrations were in Russian, I didn’t have any difficulty understanding due to the effective subtitles.
For the most part, this narration system worked fine, but due to its lengthy descriptions of items and complexity, I found myself lost more often than I would like to admit. I see the hard work and planning behind this progression system but things shouldn’t be this complicated early on in the game.
Horror elements: A dark environment with item interactions and well-timed sound effects create simple but effectively startling moments.
Puzzles: Right from the get-go I found myself banging my head on the wall. There was no clue about the puzzles, no hints, no tutorials, no nothing.
The game just hinted that I could interact with items, which I did and it seems I could get out of the first stage of the game after interacting with all of the items.
Several minutes into the game, I found a hidden three-letter lock; unlocking it gave me great enjoyment.
I found a key!!!! Now I could finally get out of this rotten room, but oh no!!! Each time I interacted with the door, the door led me back to the same room, with the voice of the Russian narrator clearly expressing fear, anger, and despair. At that moment I genuinely felt bad for the protagonist.
Searching a bit more led to a pyramid-shaped wooden object with keyholes, that’s supposed to unlock the door!!!!
Going in further there were more mind-bending puzzles that made no sense even till the end.
After playing this game, it became pretty obvious that am no puzzles master, but I very much admire the detail and complexity of these puzzles.
Visuals: Very ambitious detailed room designs that looked really good, but had a lot of graphic issues.
The game featured early 1900’s-themed room design and visuals, which looked really nice, but graphic and texture issues were everywhere. As soon as the light shined on a detailed spot and I looked away, that spot just became a blurry mess. And each time it took a while to recover from these texture issues.
Lighting: 1917: The Prologue’s attention to details seemed spot-on for the most part with its immersive lighting, featuring the matches as a primary source of lighting and additional lighting in the form of a fireplace, a candle, and a lamp.
The star attraction would be the game’s one-handed match lighting, which felt very much era-appropriate and contributed to the immersion very well. But it had its fair share of issues, such as the lighting going darker than usual after interacting with items and taking time to recover, as well as lighting animation issues and no match-extinguishing animations, etc.
But other featured forms of lighting were just perfect and immersive.
Looking past all the issues 1917: The Prologue is an amazing dark exploration game with a strong mix of room escape. The visuals were amazing and well detailed. The puzzles were simple to get into but hard to get in tune with, which made them good head-scratchers.
With a little more work, 1917: The Prologue has the potential to become something great and a major thriller for the puzzle junkies out there.
Review written by BiteMexD for Zeepond.com!
Positives+ Good attention to detail
+ Era-appropriate game design
+ Simple, effective gameplay machines
+ Fluent Russian narration
+ Well put to gather puzzles
+ Well put to gather descriptions as English subtitles
Negatives- Lighting issues
- Graphic and texture issues
- Unexplained puzzles
- No English narration yet
- Crosshair glitch
- Random and frequent game crashes
Great concept, simple yet effective gameplay machines, head-scratching puzzles, but needs some work to be put into.
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Zeepond Rating: 6/10
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