Uncanny Valley (PS Vita) Review

By Josh Di Falco 11.06.2017

Review for Uncanny Valley on PS Vita

It's funny to think that one of the games that Uncanny Valley had similarities to was the '90s classic Another World, especially when comparing the pixelated graphics of Cowardly Creations' debut title with the crispness and vibrant colours of the latter. However, the mystery and intrigue that surrounds the Facility that the newest night's guard, Tom, is embroiled in feels very reminiscent. Dwelling on the edge of spookiness, can this atmospheric side-scrolling adventure make its mark?

Tom, the faceless protagonist of this indie title starts his first day as the night's guard at a Facility that is out of the way. Not knowing exactly what business they conduct, he gets the grand tour of the base area by Buck, the veteran security guard. After putting on his uniform, the standard night shift begins, as Tom makes his way through the complex without an exact goal in mind. It is just standard procedure really, except for the fact that Tom only has seven minutes to go about his business. The countdown clock signifies when Tom's shift is due to end, upon which he then gets tired and goes to sleep to end the day, upon which he then encounters his nightmares.

The countdown clock is poorly implemented due to the fact that Tom rarely has enough time to actually get about exploring the facility in the beginning. While the first day of the shift sees Tom get free reign over the tasks of exploring the four different levels, the subsequent days introduces a linear mission-line that keeps Tom busy for a time. While they still allow some time leftover to complete the day-to-day grind of exploration, Tom moves at a frustratingly slow pace. Though he does have the ability to sprint, he barely makes it across the screen before he pulls up huffing and puffing.

Hidden cassette and VHS tapes and emails help provide a bit of back-story to explain the context of this facility and the work that it undertook. One of the positives of this game is the lack of forced narrative, and like many other exploration titles, requires Tom to seek out bits of information, which allude to the overarching story. This then opens up a platform for discussion, as the vagueness of it all without every truly explaining certain things allows for the tale to sometimes end without answers.

Screenshot for Uncanny Valley on PS Vita

This is due to the fact that Uncanny Valley has multiple endings to the story that may not always be good. Depending on the choices that Tom makes during his adventure, the tale can take a few different turns and while it sounds good in theory, it definitely is not as satisfying as it sounds. Sometimes the story can end too abruptly, or is not even clear enough that the story is in fact over. Some decisions that are made do not necessarily imply an "end game", and yet those actions lead to one. For instance, in one playthrough, Tom took Buck's car keys and drove away from the facility after his first day on the job, upon which the game then ended before the crux of the story ever got going. However, subsequent playthroughs can go for a while longer, provided Tom stays alive long enough to see it through to the end.

After the first few days of dealing with the timed day-to-day rigors of being a night's security, Uncanny Valley eventually opens up into a survival horror game that does away with the seven-minute countdown clock. Tom, equipped with a gun, traverses the underbelly of the facility, as some of the game's greater mysteries are uncovered. However, the clumsiness of this battle system lets the game down drastically, due to Tom's insistence on reloading with an unused round, due to it being mapped to the same button as firing the damn thing. Coupled with the game's implementation of a "health" system, where Tom displays different body postures depending on how many times he has been hit, and the true horror survival aspect of this game is the fight with the game's mechanics.

Screenshot for Uncanny Valley on PS Vita

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

It is unfortunate, because the atmosphere that Uncanny Valley conveys in every room, and around the intrigue of the vague story is spooky enough that this could've been a good game. However, the poorly executed gameplay mechanics really lets the title down. Once the game does away with the exploration, and becomes more of a survival horror, the health and gun mechanics fall completely flat, as uninspiring shootouts occur, and Tom more likely than not succumbs to the darkness due to the poor button mapping of reloading and shooting a gun. The story has enough intrigue to get the adventure started, but unfortunately Uncanny Valley just isn't worth it to replay multiple times in order to achieve the different endings.

Developer

Cowardly Creations

Publisher

Digerati Distribution

Genre

Horror

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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