9 mins read

Truberbrook, the review

We measured ourselves with the review of Truberbrook knowing that we are faced with a classic graphic adventure, one of those that respect the dictates of the genre both in the mechanics, simplified but still faithful to the point and click, and in the humorous vein which represents an essential component in a genre that makes narrative the its pillar. Nothing new, therefore, including the science fiction setting which has also become increasingly popular since this genre came back into vogue. But a something extra this Central European adventure has it. And this is what helped the title of the German software house btf to cross the Kickstarter finish line of 80,000 euros in just 30 hours.

The greatest peculiarity of Truberbrook, excluding the renunciation of the umlaut on the letter u outside of German territory, lies entirely in the miniature scenarios which are made entirely by hand and transposed digitally to give us environments with breathtaking details and a decidedly particular rendering. The characters, characterized by a decidedly European angular design, are applied successively and the separation is visible, but the overall effect – thanks to the excellent quality of the models – does not clash, ending up recalling some period adventures characterized by drawn and others digitized. The result is surprising, and although not all settings can boast the same care, there is no shortage of glimpses destined to remain in the memory for a long time. But this is not enough to make a video game worthy of the name. And here we are finally talking about this German adventure set in 1967, in the midst of the Cold War, with a Twin Peaks-like start in a German village at the foot of the mountains. Truberbrook is the name of the place, while the game’s subtitle, “a nerd saves the world”, explains everything we need to know about the character, an American physics student whose name, Hans Tannhauser, betrays Teutonic origins.

And they are origins that quote a phrase from Blade Runner, recalled several times by a title that is inspired to classic science fiction, from The X-Files to Star Trek, adding a pinch of Stranger Things and transporting everything to a difficult period for the world. It is therefore inevitable to expect lapels of a certain thickness, even if our protagonist faces the matter with a smile, convinced that he is on holiday thanks to a trip won by chance that takes us to a place lost in the middle of nowhere and apparently devoid of any attraction. He begins like this, making his first acquaintance with the wacky characters who inhabit Truberbrook, an adventure that talks about quantum physics, parallel universes and other mysteries that lead us by the hand through the acts of an adventure that opens gradually, offering us increasingly complex puzzles. Difficulty, however, is not the central point of the experience, even when the map opens up and the puzzles span different settings. And it’s a setting that was probably intended for an adventure that doesn’t force us to look for unlikely combinations. The interface is basic while the inventory can simply be looked at, with the title allowing us to only use objects in our possession that are compatible with what we are doing, combining them automatically. This means that the player’s ability, excluding some more complex puzzles, lies entirely in investigating, talking to the characters and also exploring the elements not indicated by the aids, which can be called up with the space bar, which could unlock new situations in a game that aims to flow smoothly, acting in some way as a bridge between classic graphic adventures and cinematic ones. The scenarios, unfortunately, are not many, but they change (sometimes suddenly) and evolve, giving us a fluid and decidedly engaging experience.

PC System Requirements

Test Configuration

  • Operating system: Windows 10 64-bit
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
  • Video card: GeForce RTX 2070
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM

Minimum requirements

  • Operating System: Windows 7/8/8.1/10
  • Processor: 4th Generation Intel Core i3, 2nd Generation Core-i5, or AMD A6
  • Video card: AMD Radeon 5800 series, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti or Intel HD 4000
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM

Recommended requirements

  • Operating System: Windows 7/8/8.1/10
  • Processor: 5th Generation Intel Core i3, 3rd Generation Core-i5, or AMD FX4170
  • Video card: AMD Radeon 800o series, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM

Truberbrook, we were saying, is an experience that removes unnecessary complications and does not focus on difficulty, relying on a handful of hand-crafted scenarios which, seasoned with real-time reflections and dynamic lighting, they satisfy our senses on several occasions. There are also some interlude scenes, short but effective, which give the work a roundness that is often absent in graphic adventures with an inevitably limited production value. And this without considering the excellent English dubbing, at least for the three main characters, which goes hand in hand with one spot-on humour, sometimes even markedly adult with a classic German gag based on an oblong vibrating object. In some moments, however, the verve is lost, the characters lose depth and only the plot remains which offers some tasty ideas but in some cases seems hastily pulled away, leaving us dumbfounded in front of a product that appears fluctuating in every sector, although it always remains enjoyable. Enough to leave a bad taste in the mouth when faced with a less than exceptional longevity. According to the developers’ estimates, based on the material created, Truberbrook should last from 7 to 10 hours, but in our case we reached the ending in six hours or so, wasting some time also due to some rather serious bugs which in the version we tested forced us to reload the game.

We also retraced our steps several times, among other things, sitting through some animations repeatedly due to a not perfectly thought-out quick trip, to visit some areas which, although still visitable, quickly exhaust their usefulness, bringing all the action to focus on the main areas. And even considering that in the Truberbrook area the small village is truly the center of the world, it seemed like a waste of space. All weighed down by a soundtrack that undoubtedly evokes an atmosphere halfway between sci-fi and paranormal, but does not shine for quality and originality with the exception of a single sung song which among other things is functional for a game scene. This, however, does not compromise the enjoyment of a title which, although simple and imperfect, is thoroughly entertaining, with ancient writings, well-chosen plot twists and a couple of rather intriguing puzzles. He stumbles but precisely on the final sequence, made special by the only relevant choice of the game, but short, confusing in its mechanics, weak from the point of view of character characterization and not very refined from a technical point of view. However, it does not compromise too much an ending that is as short as it is suggestive, a gloss on theexcellent business card of a software house capable and determined not to leave anyone out, at least from the point of view of the platforms given that unfortunately there is no trace of subtitles in Italian. The PC version will arrive on March 12th on both Windows, Mac and Linux, while the console version will be available on April 17th on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 for around 30 euros. And the list of logos on the official website includes the Android one, an indication of how the possibility of a mobile porting is more than a simple promise.

Free Trüberbrook on GOG for the 15th anniversary sale

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