“Now, this is the story all about how, My life got flipped-turned upside down”.
A world destroyed, a new life underground. This is what happens when the sun dies and people resort to living under ground in a city named Brimestone. This also sets up the premise for Traverser, and players control Valerie as she explores this new world that literally can be flipped upside down.
Gameplay in Traverser is top down, puzzle based, exploration. As players move Valerie around the environment, she is eventually able to use a gravity gun, not unlike the one from Half Life 2. She is young and living with her father, and oxygen is a precious commodity in this world. Soon enough, he goes missing, and players need to discover what occurred and how the Raven Corporation is involved.
Price I’d Pay: $9.99
How long to beat: Five hours
The setting and characters created here have a wonderful aesthetic, and bring the dying world to life. Voice actors do a great job with the script, even if it seems a bit predictable. While exploring the areas in the game, some are linear while others are not, which can lead to some confusion at times as there is no mini map. Luckily, it never became too much of a burden.
Valerie will use her gravity gun to push, pull, and fight. Players control Valerie with the keyboard while moving the objects with the mouse, twisting, raising, and lowering them. Other times she can flip to the other side of the map at designated points, and see the world from the other viewpoint. The puzzles are where the game’s controls shine and work in its favor unlike in combat. Sometimes the path might be blocked by rubble that needs to be moved, another time she has to find a way around it. While puzzles are the main point of gameplay, fighting enemies has brief moments as well, even if they come off feeling rather janky in execution.
The first boss in particular gave way to fumbling with the keyboard and mouse controls due to the lack of a run button or precision movement. This also spills over a bit into moments that require precision jumping, when precision controls are lacking. Thankfully, the game always reloads the section almost immediately before players died, keeping frustration to a minimum.
Traverser has a lot of charm, and the voice acting and world itself kept me intrigued. Puzzles are either simple or a bit more complex, but never absolutely hair pulling. Controls are the biggest frustration factor, along with trial and error moments concerning puzzles and bosses. They didn’t prevent me from playing, but in a day and age where controllers are pretty standard, it’s surprising not to see this option and lead to quite a few deaths. If you like the idea of a gravity gun and you enjoy puzzle games with unique settings, Traverser is a no brainer, even though you’ll need to use yours to finish it.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.