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Scanner Sombre Review

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Gameplay:

Since I am skipping over story, gameplay is up. First off I want to say that this is not a walking simulator. The requirement of and method for exploration fully distinguishes Scanner Sombre from that moniker. You are not just walking but having to look around and actively paint the environment to see any of it. For this painting you use the scanner you get at the beginning of the game, and throughout the game you do find upgrades for it.

The scanner upgrades include a means to control the aperture size, a burst mode, a map, and eventually a high resolution module. That last module practically makes the burst mode obsolete with how effective it is for scanning surfaces, but the burst mode does still have its uses. While the high resolution module means you can completely scan a surface very quickly, the burst mode scans almost the entire volume in front of you in a matter of seconds. One thing I particularly liked doing with the burst mode was to activate it and then pull up the map, to see it add the scanned surfaces in real-time. It kind of threw off my judgement for where things were until I started moving around, but it was really cool to see just how far the burst reaches.

 

 

There is no crouching or running in the game, but you will need to jump some. There are also no real puzzles, unless you count finding the only path to advance a puzzle. There was a time or two I was not sure where to go, but it was not too bad. This is actually something that makes how the sensor works quite helpful. If you tag the place you want to go, you can see it from almost anywhere, until you scan objects that obscure it. This allows you to explore and try to find your way without losing sight of your goal, or confusing it with other locations. Also, by exploring you can have different angles to scan from, helping to build out the environment and figure out what the path to take is.

It is a somewhat minimalistic gameplay style, but it works and I enjoyed it. The game only took me about 2 hours and 40 minutes to beat on my first playthrough. That is kind of short, but honestly, it could not have been longer without changing the character of the game. The sensor mechanic is interesting and I would even like to see it used again, but to support a longer game, more is going to be needed to hold my interest. (Just as a low-thought example, a horror game that uses LIDAR instead of a flashlight, with all of the pros and cons. That could hold my interest for more time, thanks to the added action of the horror elements. Exploration can get boring after a bit.)

 

 

As short as it was, I do intend to finish the New Game+ I started, because I want to use the fully-upgraded sensor to light up as much of the environment as I can. I am not entirely sure what I will do after that. I will say that having some means to unlock a traditionally-textured experience in the game would be interesting; basically exploring the caves and tunnels with the lights on.

One last thing I want to say is that I hope Scanner Sombre comes to support VR. I do not have a headset currently and cannot predict when I may get one, if I ever do, but this game would lend itself so well to that technology. After all, the in-game character is actually wearing a head-mounted display.




  1. Scanner Sombre - Introduction
  2. Scanner Sombre - Graphics
  3. Scanner Sombre - Gameplay
  4. Scanner Sombre - Additional Gameplay Media
  5. Scanner Sombre - Conclusion
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