Mechanically The Great Perhaps is a bit of a throwback to old school point and click ideals; find the right item for the job, solve puzzle, rinse and repeat. It’s a bit simpler and more straightforward than some of the obtuse solutions from back then, but the same general ideas are in play – though played out in a 2D platformer rather than a strict point and click. Unfortunately, it also brings back some awfully wooden dialogue and set ups that undermine the tale that is so desperately trying to be deep and meaningful.
We play as Kosmos, outfitted in a space suit after seemingly having crash landed from, well, space. Our AI companion L9 – who’s voice sounds like GLaDOS coming down after having dental work – helps set us on the way by directing us to our first objective, heading back to our home. All is not well from the off though, with the world laying in ruins and waste after an unknown catastrophe.
It’s not long before we come across a mysterious lamp, at which point a somewhat terrifying creature appears and chases us down. As luck would have it, the lamp can transport us back through time for a short while and we’re able to escape.
This lamp proves to be the crutch on which the games puzzles are propped up on. A press of X shines its light, showing us an alternate view within it’s beam of how the world used to appear; a decrepit hot dog stand for example shown up and running with its vendor, or a blockage of rubble that naturally wasn’t there before the end of the world.
Holding X meanwhile lets us transport back there wholesale for a short time, letting us pass said rubble, or find items to help us out in the bleak future. It’s a clever mechanic, and one that never gets overly complicated. Often, it’s a case of using it for traversal but a locked door can be passed by going back in time, or a discarded bottle of alcohol can be brought back in time to bribe someone with. Our astronaut can only hold one thing at a time, so some puzzles involving several steps can feel a little bit of a faff to solve, but I never found this to more than a mild inconvenience.
It’s a shame then that the dialogue delivery and overall tale isn’t anywhere near as gripping as Caligari Games seem to hope it is. I’m not exactly expecting Last of Us levels (yes, I went there) of performance or storytelling, but even by smaller titles standards this has a long way to go. Any sort of emotional or revelatory moment is sucked of impact by a delivery, in English, from people whose first language clearly isn’t that. I don’t want to come across too harsh as I certainly couldn’t do much better in their native tongue, but I can’t help but be sucked out of the experience every time someone speaks. Just having the subs would have been a better approach, and turning the voice volume right down definitely improves things.
The Great Perhaps tries to marry some puzzle adventuring in with a weighty story, but in the end all this does is drag it down. The gameplay mechanics are interesting and provide a good time, but the stilted delivery and un-engaging tale are unlikely to drag you though.
This game was reviewed based on Xbox One review code, using an Xbox One console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.