Top Critic Average
These are intriguing times for gods in games. If the collapse of Peter Molyneux's Project Godus is an apocalyptic turn of events for the genre Populous gave life to, a new breed of "god sim" is on the march - one that seeks not to portray a god but to mechanically enact the uncertainties that make us wonder if deities exist. Breath of Life is a remarkable contribution to this highly select field. Its strength is that it looks at the same predicaments as Portal and Bioshock from a compelling angle, unburdened by lore, but it doesn't quite have the spark to be breathtaking.
Pneuma: Breath of Life provides an interesting male lead, a gorgeous backdrop, and unique puzzles solved through the powers of perception. However, it fails to provide a nuanced story, and the one it delivers finishes much too soon. With such a surreal premise, there was an opportunity to take the journey much further and the puzzles much deeper. It's a stunning presentation, but in the end your personal judgment will be based on quality over quantity.
Pneuma: Breath Of Life is a game that I urge you to experience. It's not perfect, but in a way that fits entirely with its own outlook, and its effectiveness as a story is both thought-provoking and surprising. Pre-conceptions aside, it is certainly an intriguing and unique title that explores elements of philosophy and life often left untouched by gaming.
An engaging and quirky game that packs some intriguing puzzles... as well as some that are almost too easy to solve. The narration sometimes feels like it's trying just a little too hard for its own good, but the overall experience Pneuma: Breath of Life delivers is an enjoyable one.
With fantastic dialogue, beautiful graphics, and some truly innovative puzzles, Pneuma: Breath of Life is a great buy, even for a short game. Though it does have some boring and frustrating moments - as well as some framerate issues - it's all worth it for the incredible ending. Pneuma may not breathe life into the puzzle genre, but it certainly gives you a new perspective on it.
After looking at what Pneuma: Breath of Life has to offer, is it worth keeping an eye on? For the most part, yes. It is a well crafted adventure and a lot of love has gone into creating a unique take on the puzzle genre. The game's one character is interesting to listen to and the topic is something that is rarely discussed in the gaming industry. While puzzle fans will find enjoyment here, fast-paced gamers and those looking for something a bit more beefy in content may not find it as worthwhile. The [email protected] games that have been released so far have all had their quirks, and Pneuma: Breath of Life definitely deserves its place within the library.
Pneuma: Breath of Life didn't completely rock our world, but it did make for a captivating and satisfying afternoon in front of the television. If puzzle adventures are your thing and you don't mind linear progression, there's a lot to like here.
But these moments are too few and too far between, in a brief but well-designed puzzle game that really just doesn't need them. There's a strong tradition of puzzle games enlivened by the voices that inhabit their world, but the more I look at Pneuma, the more I am forced to conclude that it would be better if it simply had the confidence to be silent.
I wish the developers had given the more interesting elements of the game more time to breathe. I wish Pneuma had been a little less hasty—a little more interested in conveying why exactly we should care about his rushed philosophical ponderings than racing to solve high school thought experiments. In a game about creation and existence and perception, I'd have loved some sense of what it would actually feel like to be birthed from the void into a world that was, for all intents and purposes, yours.
However, impressive aesthetics and weighty mental gymnastics aren't enough to compensate for puzzle design that becomes a slog before long. It's a shame because Pneuma boldly asks questions about player agency, but in ways that are bogged down in tedium.
Pneuma: Breath of Life should have been the kind of game you turn to between Call of Duty sessions, but instead it's a slightly insipid, short-lived and ultimately disposable puzzler. Console gamers like us are crying out for games like these, but Pneuma really isn't it.
Pneuma is a first-person puzzler, with some amazing looking graphics at times due to its use of Unreal Engine 4. But thats all the game has going for it. Throughout the story you are led to believe you are like a “god,” but you internally question some things that are going on, such as the existence of certain features in your own world. During most of the puzzles the character gives you a little hint on how you should solve each one. But I quickly became annoyed by the mellow and monotonous tone of his voice, so I essentially tuned him out. As you might imagine, this can make each future puzzle more difficult since you’re virtually not getting the one provided hint. That said, if you are good at this type of game, the hints are probably not needed until you make significant progress. Most of the initial puzzles are simple, requiring that you look at an eye to open a door, create sound, or just pull a lever. However, once you get further into the game, listening to the “god’s” monologue is must. At one point it took me awhile to figure out that I just had to sit and stare at a sundial to complete the puzzle – all because the only character in the game had almost immediately lost my attention.