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Review: Master Reboot


Marcus Estrada

Developer: Wales Interactive

Publisher: Wales Interactive

Platform: PC (Steam), PS3 (PSN)

Release Date: October 29, 2013

ESRB: T for Teen

 

 

Master Reboot launched last year on PC but not that many people appeared to notice. For whatever reason, the intriguing title is one that many PC players have yet to play, even if they did purchase a copy. Now that the game is on PS3 it has another shot to draw gamer attention toward itself. But is this a game that actually deserves a second chance? Most definitely, although there are caveats to this statement.

 

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The storyline to Master Reboot is a bit hard to convey but that“s because the game itself keeps most of it under wraps to reveal as you play. However, the basic setup is that there is a company called Mysteri that has invented a new technology called the Soul Cloud. When people die, they can have their mind and memories digitized and stored in Mysteri“s servers. Once uploaded, loved ones can come and “visit” the digital version of their spouses, siblings, parents, and friends.

 

It sounds pretty cool, right? Or maybe it sounds terrifying. In any case, players start the game as someone visiting the Soul Cloud although we aren“t sure as to why. Once inside it appears that things have gone wrong. Certain memory doors are inaccessible while others are. There also seems to be dangerous glitches interfering with the data. Your goal is to make it through various memories, thereby unlocking them all. It“s a bit harder than it sounds.

 

Although some stages operate differently, the goal is usually to solve a handful of puzzles within any one memory. Puzzles range from figuring out how to collect a series of items, arranging objects in the proper way, and a few less obvious ones. Any player willing to put in some degree of effort will find puzzles solvable. This isn“t a classic adventure game with loopy logic, after all. Sometimes you must find the proper path through areas which can be a bit more annoying when you can“t figure out the “trick”.

 

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Exploring memories is the coolest part of the game because it leads you to gorgeous, creepy, and just plain interesting areas. For example, you“ll visit a school and playground, but also worrisome locations such as an abandoned amusement park. That“s just the start, though. Things often fly off the rails with far more unique and visually stunning areas. Uncovering new memories is always exciting as you never know what might be right around the corner.

 

Much of the excitement to be had with traversing through memories is thanks to the excellent aesthetics. Yes, Master Reboot has a sort of retro polygonal look, but that works to its advantage. It doesn“t look like a PS1 or N64 game but instead uses polygons as a stylistic choice that lend to the strange world of the Soul Cloud. Chances are, you“ve never played a game that looks quite like this one before.

 

Not every aspect of the game lives up to its fantastic visual design. For one, non-music audio sounds strangely poor at times. Sometimes sound effects also sound too loud or quiet. The audio being unbalanced seems quite odd and can take you out of the mood. There was also a good deal of screen tearing when playing on console which was not appreciated. In certain areas it was fine, but in others (such as a forested area at the very start) it became extreme.

 

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There also appear to be issues pertaining to this port exclusively that are due to the PS3 controller. For example, there is a segment early on where you must drive through traffic for a set amount of time without hitting any cars. It doesn“t sound too tough, and hopefully wouldn“t be when having fairly precise control on a keyboard. However, using the analog stick feels floaty and leads to one sideswiping cars far more often than should be the case. There are other times when using a controller feels like the wrong way to be playing. It“s not wrong for a developer to prefer one control scheme over another but it“s unfortunate more wasn“t done to aid the PS3 experience.

 

Is Master Reboot playing? Most definitely. It has an incredibly unique premise and design that definitely deserves attention. However, getting the game on PS3 is not recommended as that“s obviously not the way it was meant to be played. Or, if it ever appears as an Instant Game Collection title you can test the waters there before eventually buying on Steam. In any case, Master Reboot was quite a surprising game and hopefully this recent port will give it some much-needed attention.

 


Pros:

 

+ Excellent stylized visuals

+ Interesting storyline

+ Puzzles that are not made to confound players

 

Cons:

 

- PS3 controls are imprecise and finicky

- Weird audio mix

- Some screen tearing on more complex areas

 


Overall Score: 7.0 (out of 10)

Good

 

Although the PS3 port of Master Reboot leaves something to be desired it still manages to shine through with an excellent concept and artistic vision.

 

Disclosure: This review is based on PS3 downloadable code of the game provided by the publisher.

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