Top Critic Average
I'm fairly sure that Beautiful Desolation is a decent game. This is a vast world clearly built with passion and with a keen attention to detail. Unfortunately, this console conversion is no way at all to experience The Brotherhood's latest. Awful pathfinding, so many invisible walls that if they were visible they could be seen from space, and clunky, unresponsive controls turn the fetch quest-heavy gameplay into a meandering slog.
Beautiful Desolation is an enjoyable point and click adventure in a unique world, but the slow pace and obtusiveness may put some people off.
I really appreciate what Beautiful Desolation is trying to do with creative storytelling; well-developed characters; and a mind-bending and beautiful, albeit desolate, sci-fi world. I just ended up too frustrated by the limitations of the console medium and a lack of direction in many of the quests to ultimately recommend this game on this platform. It's a point-and-click adventure presented without a pointer or a clicker, better played on PC.
Even with the game environment being so desolate, there is still something rather beautiful – and this isn’t about the visuals, but the overall charm of the game and its characters. When I first heard of Beautiful Desolation I had expected a guns-blazing adrenaline-pumping RPG that would involve a high level of stress, but instead, I was given struggling human characters trying to find a way home with actual useful dialogue and choices that made a difference. Sure there is a lot of exploring, backtracking, and crying about finding items (eventually leading to searching online for hints and walkthroughs), but through it all, it was a journey that was worth experiencing – especially on a television screen.
Though a clunky UI and collection of surplus mini-games detract from Beautiful Desolation's evocative setting and characters, this is nonetheless one of the more interesting point and click adventures to come along for a good while. Not least thanks to its superbly imaginative take on a post apocalyptic future where the lines between humanity, evolution and immortality are deeply blurred. Even for the most stalwart adventurer, Beautiful Desolation's narrative and fresh premise will find a way to delight and surprise in equal measure.
We were, as you can tell from the body of this review, consistently frustrated with Beautiful Desolation, another ambitious and lovely-looking game whose Switch incarnation just wasn't an acceptable way to experience it - shades of Genesis Noir's port (though that was better). It's especially unfortunate because this is exactly the sort of different that the Switch needs, but it needs to run better than what's on offer here. If you can muscle past the problematic controls, excessive loading and weak performance, you may be able to get into Beautiful Desolation. There is a lot to like in its worldbuilding, gorgeous backgrounds and interesting premise. But we felt like it just asked us to overlook way, way too many problems for the privilege.
By recovering and expanding stasis's game formula, Beautiful Desolation confirms The Brotherhood's talent for making point-and-click adventures that are appealing both narratively and aesthetically.
Review in Italian | Read full review
Beautiful Desolation is an essential entry in the Adventure Game genre and should not be missed. Gorgeous visuals, and evocative sound design compliment an exceptional sci-fi story filled with mystery, pathos, and good old-fashioned adventuring with some modern flair.
Beautiful Desolation is one of those games that has a lot of strong points, but has a few significant drawbacks that keep the experience in check, so to speak. Still, despite its few drawbacks, I found myself hooked on the game after the first half hour and I had to see it through, not unlike the captivating experience that a good page-turning book can do for you. Plus, at only $20, you really can’t go wrong here if you’re looking for a solid sci-fi adventure with gorgeous visuals.