Top Critic Average
It's not enough though. Traverser is also proof that all the pretty graphics in the world can't make up for staid mechanics. I want to love Traverser. Taken piecemeal, I do love Traverser. But it's not enough to have great ideas—you need to execute on them too. And Traverser doesn't quite nail the execution.
Traverser is an intriguing game. While it doesn't do that many great things with its gravity glove, it makes up for it with the clever story, novel premise, and the emphasis on sneaking around. However, some ambiguous moments and the presence of a few awkward boss fights weigh it down.
Traverser is keen to demonstrate that a submission to genre norms isn't an admission of exhausted objectives. Physics puzzles, light stealth, passable platforming, and a decent run of boss fights—it's all well covered ground, but Traverser's endearing characters and engaging fiction make it easy to pass through.
Traverser is a stunning experience that got put in the washer with a woefully average one. As a puzzler, it's truly top-shelf stuff, replete with player agency. But it's washed out by a generic frame.
Traverser puts players in the role of Valerie Bennett, who has the freedom to move between a floating city's upper and lower halves in a journey to free her father and uncover the truth. Although the game has a nice atmosphere, complete with a gravity manipulation glove for puzzles, Traverser can get weighted down with wasted potential.
The challenges in Traverser are not poorly designed, merely underwhelming. To Gatling Goat Studios' credit, many can be approached in a couple of different ways and it's enjoyable whenever the player has an opportunity to feel as though they have subverted the intended solution. As there's only light violence and Valerie's capabilities are mostly defensive, the game's content could work for a younger audience. Parents may want to do a solo playthrough (which should take 3-4 hours) or watch a video of the conclusion before sitting down with the kids, though.
In the end, Traverser is a game that shows great a deal of promise in the early going, with its interesting setting and accomplished visual style making the game tremendously easy to get into. Once in for the long haul however, Traverser begins to reveal an affair less compelling than its first impressions would suggest. With shoddy controls, uninspired puzzles and frustrating boss encounters all detracting from an otherwise entertaining experience, the result is a title that is merely enjoyably average rather than truly great.
If you like the idea of a gravity gun and you enjoy puzzle games with unique settings, Traverser is a no brainer, even though you'll need to use yours to finish it.
In all, Traverser creates a compelling world with numerous interesting quirks and a solid story. While the puzzles aren't what they likely could be, given the intriguing design and mechanics, they're also not so awful as to make the experience entirely dull.
Traverser boasts a fascinating world and an interesting premise, but the game's overly simplistic gameplay and lack of challenge prevent it from living up to its full potential.
Piss poor controls, an insipid plot, and a ridiculously short length makes what could have been a neat game into a retread of things I've played many times before but better.