I do like it when a modern game reminds you of an old one. The style of it and the way it’s put together can take you back in time, while keeping you in the present too. This is one of the reasons I like indie titles so much, especially classic 2D games. The moment I started on my Uncanny Valley console review, having not played the PC version, I felt a familiar vibe.
Seeing the pixel art style of this 8 bit surreal game made me think of SNES titles like Another World. Even down to that strange feeling of confusion surrounding what’s going on.
I played the PS4 version of the game and share my thoughts below. It’s a nice title with something about it that really does deserve attention. But it’s on the details it doesn’t reach the heights it was capable of. The developers are on the right track here however and it’s a good foundation for them.
Check the details and scores below and take a moment to Share on Social Media while you’re here. And, if you have it and played it… What do you think? Leave me your thoughts in the Disqus Comments at the end.
Look and Feel
It’s impressive how cool an 8 bit game can look even today. And in Uncanny Valley we have another example or a really cool looking game that captures everything just right within a pixel art presentation.
In a different style to the colourful and fun 88 Heroes, the environments are dark and dingy just like the plot and it all suits its rather eerie tone.
Sound wise it’s also nicely done with some music that puts you on edge. Some rather jumpy moments come along and get you thanks to the stillness and presentation, but after you wonder why you jumped, since the effects are all so cheesy.
On the PS4 it runs really nicely and the controls handle well with no signs of any glitches on my many times through the story. Throughout my time with the game, I never had any issues technically.
Presentation wise this is really cool, it’s a shame some details in the next section don’t reach the same levels of quality.
Story and Gameplay
I do like a game that just lets you, the player, figure things out about what you are seeing. Where you almost question everything about what’s going on and if it’s real. Uncanny Valley sets up this premise really nicely at first. As Tom, the protagonist, you realise he’s not in a good place but don’t really know why.
Some demonic entities are chasing him in his nightmares and the real world isn’t much better.
You take over his story on the way to an unusual facility as a security guard. But it’s a rather strange place with odd people such as fellow security man Buck and cleaner at the apartments Eve.
Here is where the game just plain loses itself In trying to give you too much directionless freedom. You explore the facility, the few rooms in the apartments and then go back to your room to sleep. If you don’t make it back you pass out where you are and either way you have another nightmare.
Some things play out at certain times and these are decent but nothing remarkable. The possible endings are good if you get to them, as what you accomplish in your adventure time and at key moments can lead to many endings. Although your first few times through will probably not end well.
In isolation the elements of the beginning, the nightmares and the endings are great. The structure around them isn’t right, and the fact you must start the story from the beginning again each time you end up dead can see you lose motivation.
As for gameplay elements is a simple 2D adventure game. There are conversations to read and there are environments to look around and find things. What you are finding around are tapes and email conversations as to what’s going on but it’s difficult to piece it all together.
This game is all about coming back for more to really understand what happened. And to get the good endings.
You have a torch to see in the dark which can be turned on… or (you guessed it) off. You interact with items and I’d you do things right you can get a gun, although it’s not likely you will first go… Chances are you’ll be nice and dead.
Other than that it’s problem solving and just getting through the ordeal and getting out the other side. Even with Tom’s inability to sprint more than about 10 meters without being out of breath, it’s possible to survive in a few ways.
As I say there are some good elements here, it’s the way they fit together that lets it down. You will likely go through the game a couple of times and figure things out differently but after that you might lose interest.
Uncanny Valley is one of those games I truly fund frustrating. Because I want to really like it. I mean, I do like it because it’s really got some well done parts to it. Elements that are really clever and just a great idea. But then you wonder why other areas are so poorly put together.
Fans of old school 8 bit adventures will like this, as will point and click fans since it could be a Point and Click game quite easily.
I like it, want to really like it and hope the developers really do learn and develop from here. It’s a good foundation and worth a play at what they’re charging for it. But if the next game uses this experience and builds on it, we really could see them making something excellent in future. Check out my scores below and let me know what you think.
About Uncanny Valley Console Review
Game Reviewed: Uncanny Valley Digital Download, provided by publisher
Review Format: PS4
PEGI Rating: 16
Uncanny Valley Console Verdict
Graphics - 7/10
Story - 7/10
Gameplay - 6/10
Fun Factor - 6/10