Announced all the way back in 2014 as a kickstarter project, Scorns long journey to release has finally come an end – one week earlier than planned with a surprise release on the 14th October. Does the game have more to it than the surreal H. R. Giger and Zdzisław Beksiński inspired world crafted for it? Lets take a look…

So, story then. Well the game starts with you waking up on an alien world and that’s it really, you’re filled with just as much wonder and confusion as the character you play. There is an overarching of plot of sorts to discover, something along the lines of the cycle of life & death, but that’s about what I gleaned from it and it may be different for you.

The game doesn’t throw any story in your face with cutscenes or anything, you build it yourself I guess as there’s no logs or anything either to collect – just a world to explore and draw your own conclusions. It’s a somewhat novel way of doing things, but it could rub some folk the wrong way – just like the runtime. It has a wide berth of about 6 to 10 hours, mines more towards the high end as wanted to explore every corner of the world, but if the puzzles click and you don’t explore too much then it can be finished off in half a dozen hours – maybe less.

What helps to usher in that want to explore is the fantastic presentation, influenced by the works of H.R. Geiger, as you explore a crumbling alien world packed with biomechanical delights. Atmosphere is thick as the game really lays on the effects with plenty of mist and fog possibly hiding something not so nice. The relative silence for audio is at first surprising, but becomes essential later so you can hear the calls and noises of distant grotesque foes. It all helps to maintain a sense of dread and isolation as you explore.

I don’t really have many grumblings about the presentation, aside from maybe maxed settings seeming to match Series X – you have to ini tweak for higher settings such as increasing anisotropic filtering from a console like x4. This does mean performance is great, my system (R7 3800X/16GB/RTX 2080ti) was pushing nearly 90fps at 4K with the FSR Quality mode enabled – worth using as it looks indistinguishable here for a performance bump. Presentation here was worth the price of admission alone for me.

If I had to pin down Scorn as anything it would be a slow puzzle adventure with horror leanings. The puzzles are probably the centrepiece of the game as you’ll be doing them for everything, from item retrieval to keys for progress, as each act will have several you need to accomplish to open up another area to explore. They aren’t simple really either and are usually multi-faceted which can sometimes leave you a little lost, there’s no UI (unless readying a weapon) so no pointers as to what to do next. This forces you to explore the world until it clicks what you need to do and then each stage of the puzzle will fall into place, the first puzzle will set the tone for the rest of the game. When not solving puzzles you can take a break exploring, up until a few acts anyway and then there’s enemies to contend with that can stifle your solitude.

There are some gripes from here, minor personally but could be deal breakers for some. Firstly the gun-play later feels a tad janky and not quite tight enough, its not bad or anything but does feel a bit off. The enemies too can range from annoying twits that pepper you at range to dumb as a rock – early on you can simply orbit a console to hit them before their shooting animation can kick in. Lastly some may be frustrated by the lack of any hints, some may enjoy the discovery. For example after a few acts you get a bug lookin thing you put into machines that gets injected with something. Is it a weapon? Or ammo? Maybe its a key of sorts? or battery to power a machine? Nope, you’ll eventually realise it is basically a health pack. The frustration will come if you’ve already been killed before realising this, and it can also apply to other items you come across too.

I have a feeling Scorn will end up like marmite, you’ll either take to what its attempting to do or you’ll end up hating it. The world is a treat to explore and discover as you try to find answers alone, but the somewhat janky combat and some design choices could leave others wanting. Regardless of whether the puzzle fuelled solitude is to your liking or not, there is at least one agreeable certainty with regards to Scorn, and that is the fantastically immersive presentation. Hopefully there’s more to come.



Not without its flaws, but still a superbly atmospheric adventure of horror and discovery.

The following two tabs change content below.

Geoffrey Wright

Rocking the world of gaming since the Atari 2600, has now settled down to bask in the warmth of moe. Moe is life for a moe connoisseur.

Latest posts by Geoffrey Wright (see all)