Reviewed by Ricky
Publisher – Wales Interactive Ltd.
Developer – Splendy Games/Wales Interactive
Music – Dominic Shovelton
Category – FMV , Adventure
Release Date – April 09, 2018
The Bunker is the first full motion video (FMV) game to make it over to the Nintendo Switch. While it released on virtually every other available platform that would support it about eighteen months ago, it is a recent addition to the eShop, and that is the version I’ll be discussing here. Needless to say, FMV games have come a long way since their early heyday in the nineties, and The Bunker is a great take on this old formula, with a great story that boasts a nice twist, and excellent performances throughout.
The Bunker tells an intriguing story of the lone survivor of a nuclear fallout shelter, situated in London, as he goes through his daily routine to stay alive and maintain his sanity in isolation. The backdrop here is that the Cold War escalated in the late eighties, and nuclear strikes were carried out across all of England and France (that we know of). It becomes quickly apparent through flashbacks that the shelter wasn’t constructed properly, and that it was not stocked well enough for the magnitude of nuclear bombs that were dropped on the area.
We learn this as our thirty something protagonist encounters an issue where there is some malfunction in the air filtration system, and he makes his way through the real life compound to solve the problem, with certain rooms bringing back memories of how he ended up as the last one standing. In an FMV game, the story really takes center stage, and The Bunker’s story takes center stage over the sparse, but mostly well executed gameplay.
Usually, when I cover a port of a previously released title to the Nintendo Switch, I try to cover any and all changes, especially those instances in which compromises needed to be made for the console. Fortunately, the only change here is the addition of touchscreen support. The game is well optimized for the Switch’s hardware, and aside from the occasional bit of graphical artifacting when there is too much black on the screen in handheld mode, the game runs nearly flawlessly. It has a steady frame rate and perfect audio sync, which is crucial when dealing with games that use live video to convey the gameplay and story.
The touchscreen integration is done well, and in my opinion is the best way to play the game. Primarily, this is because there are a few quick time events that happen during cutscenes that often felt a little too sluggish when using the analog stick to get to the proper spot on the screen. While the game gives ample time to trigger these prompts, I often found myself forgetting that I was playing a game as I watched the movie okay out before me, and wasn’t able to respond quickly enough to the prompt because I had set my controller down or forgot why the separate joycon were in my hands. The other time that I found the touchscreen preferable was when having to choose between multiple options, and it was much easier to touch the option than to pinpoint it with the overly sensitive cursor controlled by the left analog stick. I really do wish that there had been a single joycon control scheme, as you only utilize the left analog stick, A button for action/confirmation, and B to cancel. It would have felt nice to use the left joycon only with the action and cancel actions assigned to the L and ZL.
Overall, The Bunker is a well made FMV game. It is functionally a point and click adventure game with not too many options. There is a little bit of exploration that can be done to find notes and memos scattered around to flesh out the backstory a bit, but it’s pretty straightforward for the most part. The difficulty is almost non-existent, and even if you fail you are just sent back to the beginning of the scene to try again. There are some slight horror elements to be found, and they are more psychological than jump scares and gore. There are two possible endings to the game, but they don’t lend to any replayability, which is the biggest mark against it. The production values and experience make it worth the price.
Buy The Bunker