Lagview – Penumbra: Overture

Lagview Score: 7.5/10


  • Compelling story
  • Frightening atmosphere
  • Interesting Puzzles that encourage you to think


  • Combat system sucks
  • Lacks the ability to save whenever you want
  • A few minor bugs

Don’t be fooled by: The developers. It may be a very small company that made the game, but they did a really good job.

I got this game as a part of the Humble Indie Bundle and I wasn’t really sure what I was getting into. The games starts out with the main character, you, on board a ship heading towards northern Greenland. You are embarking on a mission to find out about your dad, who left you before you were born. When you arrive, you find yourself in the middle of a blizzard, and you hurry to find shelter, finding it in the form of a strange hatch leading underground. You descend down into the underground and as the ladder breaks, you end up falling into an old abandoned mine. You realize you have no choice but to venture alone into the old mine and try to figure out exactly what it is.

The game can best be described as an adventure/puzzle/horror game. It has a few similarities to old games like Shadowgate or Myst. The focus is on exploration, physics based puzzles and scaring you. Throughout the game you’ll come across a series of notes, each of which tell different stories about this mysterious place, and give you some insight into where you are. The saving system is somewhat unique. The game autosaves at key points, but you will also encounter these strange artifacts which are actually save points. This adds to the fear in the game, since you can go a while before seeing another artifact, however if you feel like you need be able to save whenever you feel like it you can enable quick save/load through a config file.

You’ll also come across a number of enemies, and you have two options to deal with them. You can use stealth to avoid them or use a weapon to attack them. These enemies add a lot to the game as far as fear goes, mostly because killing them is so difficult. In order to swing your weapon, you have to hold your left mouse button and drag in a swinging motion. You interact with the whole world in a similar way.

To look inside a drawer or open a locker you have to grab onto it and move your mouse to slide it open, as it makes an appropriate creaking sound. The same technique is used for opening up doors. This adds a lot of tension to the game, especially when you come across an area with many doors. Who knows what is lurking behind the closed door, and if it’s something dangerous, how can you defend yourself?

The rest of the game is puzzles and exploration. Throughout the game, after thoroughly searching through rooms, you come across notes left by previous inhabitants of the mine as well a number of different objects. These can be things like beef jerky (which I never did find a use for), flares, dynamite, and batteries (because your flashlight can and will die, leaving you helpless to the darkness). You will also often come across items which are used in the many puzzles in the game. These items aren’t the kind of puzzles though, you might find yourself stacking up crates to get to something out of reach or even listening to a radio trying to figure out morse code.

Overall, it was certainly a game worth playing, I would recommend it to anyone who doesn’t mind getting a bit scared and wants to do some exploring, solve puzzles, or wants to become immersed in an interesting but frighting story. Considering I got the game for next to nothing, I’m really impressed. So much so that I may just buy the sequel.

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