Developed By: btf
Published By: Headup Games
Release Date: April 17, 2019
Truberbrook is a point-and-click adventure title from developer btf set in 1960’s Germany. It first came to life as a KickStarter project for PC and now has made its way to the Nintendo Switch. The developers cite X-Files, Twin Peaks, and Star Trek as inspiration for the mystery and sci-fi elements of the story.
Story elements involve the mysterious as you play Hans Tannhauser, an American physicist, who arrives in the small German village of Truberbrook after he won tickets to stay there. On his first night he wakes to find a stranger rummaging through his belongings, only to find when he flicks on the lights that the intruder vanishes, taking a paper about quantum physics Hans was working on. Now, Hans must investigate the village and question the locals to find out who stole his paper and why.
In order to solve this mystery, you’ll be interacting with the locals and solving different puzzles throughout the village in classic point-and-click fashion. A few different puzzles were clever and required some serious thought to figure out. However, too many were inventory/object based puzzles that had solutions which didn’t make much sense like some classic point-and-click adventures. On top of this, the puzzle events had to be completed in order, meaning I repeatedly had to go from one area to another highlighting everything to try and get a result. Unfortunately, if I stumbled upon the solution too often it would be only the first part of what I needed to do and I would still have no idea what was needed afterwards.
Solving the puzzles wasn’t the most exciting thing to do, but admiring the beauty of the village itself was a site to behold. From the moment Hans steps off the bus, you are immediately immersed in its gorgeous, handcrafted aesthetic, realistic lighting, and use of natural background sounds. Each set is actually a diorama the team at btf built, painted, lit, and photographed. They digitized the pictures to capture the specific look and charm of the models. The results made the landscape with the village look unique, and the amount of detail and effort in the models was impressive.
Sadly, Truberbrook’s audio does not translate as well with the voice acting somewhat sounds disconnected, as if the actors didn’t understand their motivations or situations for some of their lines. Attempts at humor also fell flat due to poor timing and bad delivery. The music was somber in tone and provided an eerie backdrop to all the mysterious happenings of Truberbrook. Likewise, it’s soft and jazzy, evoking the feeling of mystery and teasing the supernatural. It makes for some excellent background music and something I could see myself listening to in peaceful locations.
The presentation was on point from a visual standpoint, however, one specific problem lead to frustration. When an object or something can be interacted with, it will be highlighted when you place the cursor over them. Occasionally items would not highlight when they were supposed to, or they would be too small and easy to miss.
Overall, Truberbrook had a neat setting, lovely environments, and some of the elements from the story were intriguing, unfortunately none of these positives brought Truberbrook up to a must-play title. Truberbrook ends up being a messy collection of underdeveloped ideas and characters that never delivers on any of the interesting ideas it introduces. It ends up being more boring and frustrating than an enjoyable and engaging experience. I wish I could recommend Truberbrook as it is a beautiful experience, just marred in execution and an ending that was disappointing.