Game Review: Pneuma: Breath of Life

pneumabreathoflife

Release date: 2015
Version played: Xbox One in 2015

Released on the Xbox One in 2015, Pneuma: Breath of Life is a first person puzzle game, similar in style to Myst or The Stanley Parable. There is not much context to anything that happens, and you’ll be discovering things as they happen, alongside your chatty, somewhat arrogant player character. A few philosophical questions will be raised, but you won’t be able to think about them too hard, because you’ll need your brain power to solve some of the metaphorically mind-bending, and literally world-bending puzzles.

+ from the very opening, as a grand temple spawns into life from a plain white void, the game looks completely fantastic. The environment will move and roll and disappear as you progress
+ the only voice acting in the game is the “character” (it’s hard to explain, you’ll see) you are controlling. Their monologue the whole time provides some context, and adds a few philosophical questions for you to ponder
+ the puzzles themselves are generally quite interesting, mostly revolving around having to keep eye contact with various objects around the environment. This is an interesting mechanic, which never gets old or overplayed, but these are also never particularly puzzling

– a few puzzles seem unnecessarily frustrating, mostly revolving around puzzles you have to NOT look at to complete. This sounds like a silly complaint, but I spent the most amount of time of any puzzle trying to actually DO the solution, rather than figure the puzzle out
– the game is very short. I managed to complete it, trading off the controller with a friend for each level, in about five or six hours. Make of that what you will, but if you are one of those ‘dollars per hours’ kind of people, you may find the game a bit lacking

Should you play this game: I got this for free as part of the Xbox Games with Gold promotion. I certainly do think it is worth playing, but the very short play time makes it difficult to recommend this at it’s current price. When it gets down to a third, maybe half of it’s current $30 price tag it may be easier to suggest for a few hours of brain bending.

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