A strange new indie game has hit Steam with a free demo and this game is simply called Sense. Developed by Suzaku, this game is taking the concept of a dark atmosphere, strange environment, and odd happenings to blend it with map-sized puzzle solving and escape room gameplay. Placing it in a cyberpunk world, they leave every opportunity for a strange story line and series of events in front of theme. So far, they are off to a good start.
You start off on a train, riding into the city in order to meet up with a date. In this train cart you are alone and the game introduces you to the few mechanics you will have to get to know. Movement is basic with the interactions being connected to posters, doors, and other stuff that your character will comment on. This same interaction key is the one you use to collect items, the first of which being your PDA from the floor.
The PDA acts as your inventory in which you can simply click on the icon to pull up the inventory. This wasn’t necessary in the demo since simply interacting with a key location used the matching item if you had collected it already. It is still useful once you get to the point where you need to recall what you have collected and what you still need to get, which this game is leaning towards having some big collection for interaction puzzles.
Most of the puzzles you come across will require you to find an item to get into an area which will have an item to help you with another part in the previous area and so on. It is a somewhat typical search-the-map puzzle style with the exception of the occasional enemy encounter. So far, you only encounter a ghost-like, or possibly holographic-like, zombie looking enemy. They cause death once touched, so they are best avoided and only confronted if there is no other way around them.
There are also moments where you have to “pass the time” which is really just doing a certain number of interactions in a specific area. While I don’t care much for these kinds of moments, they are essential when it comes to presenting story elements. I hope there aren’t going to be a lot of these throughout the game, but they are present nonetheless.
I am hoping to see some crazy map-sized puzzles that will have me looking around large areas of the map to find the right stuff. This doesn’t mean a bunch of back tracking, but plenty of items needed for one bigger goal. This is usually done in a way that presents multiple small puzzles that unlock a bigger puzzle that has to be done to progress. The set up for this style of puzzling is certainly there.
There should be more enemies to face and maybe even a way to get around them or fight them. Even if it is a limited number of items or you have to collect a specific tool to do so, this mechanic should be in the game. After so long, they will lose their scare factor and become an annoyance factor, so at that point players would enjoy having a way to bypass the enemy or push through them.
Sense is on track to being a great adventure puzzle game in a cyberpunk environment. I hope to see these puzzle styles expanded, more enemy types, and some more unique elements to the game as well. The demo is free and worth the time of any player who enjoys dark, puzzle games. Playing through the demo gives me high hopes for this game come time to launch in 2020.