Pneuma: Breath of Life Reviews
A solid, if thin puzzle game, with not quite as much to say as it thinks it has.
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.
Portraying existential quandaries as gameplay puzzles is a daring idea, but ultimately this is a more enjoyable game to watch and listen to than it is to play.
Pneuma delivers a clever puzzle-solving mechanic inside of a lonely existential mystery.
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.
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 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 aesthetically-pleasing but decidedly empty puzzle game, Pneuma scratches an itch but fails to excite
Pneuma can appear pompous and over-reaching, and those who buy it for the puzzles alone will walk away disappointed. As a package though, it's worth checking out.
Clever but flawed collection of conundrums makes the act of observation a key puzzle solving mechanic, tying in a few heady philosophical concepts along the way
Pneuma: Breath of Life is a first-person puzzle platformer that offers an interesting mechanic, all while beating gamers over the head with a philosophical voice over.
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 ID@Xbox games that have been released so far have all had their quirks, and Pneuma: Breath of Life definitely deserves its place within the library.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Imperfect but occasionally thrilling
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.
A wonderful entry into the first person puzzle solving genre and whilst other games do individual elements better, Pneuma nails it as a package.
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.