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Steve Fielding   Devon, United Kingdom (Great Britain)
 
 
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16.2 Hours played
Distortions
A visual and audible treat with an interesting and memorable story, unfortunately marred by stability issues.

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Rating
8 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Overview
Distortions is an adventure/puzzle game set in a beautiful but strange world of memories where you reminisce about past relationships and try to overcome your demons. With the help of your violin you begin to piece back the memories you have lost and navigate the strange and wonderful environment.

Game Breakdown
The game has three large chapters and should take around 10-13 hours to complete. I have seen walkthrough videos completing it in 5.5 hours though. There are quite a few puzzles in the game which can be solved using the ability of music. The main character has lost her memory and as she progresses through the story she remembers that she can play the violin. As she plays the violin the world is affected in different ways by her playing. The land begins to change in good and bad ways. As she continues her journey she remembers parts of her memory and acquires special powers which she can use by playing certain notes on her violin. Special abilities include a protection song which helps make you invulnerable for a few seconds; a barrier song which can stop evil things attacking you or hold back falling objects; a bridge song which can help you cross large gaps and a force song which can move objects out of the way. To use any of these abilities you must play the correct notes in the right order for the right amount of time.
Throughout the world are scattered journal notes which help you remember your past and also guide you in solving puzzles. There are also white apples which you can collect that give you extra health which you can use when in trouble.

Gameplay: 🕹️
The gameplay is the weakest element to the game. The controller is far too sensitive which makes navigating narrow ledges and tight gaps frustrating, and the camera angles are sometimes bizarre. This sends your character jumping or running in the wrong direction. At times I was pressing down on the controller to go forward and visa versa. These moments are fleeting though and you soon get used to the situation and what you need to do. To be fair the game is programmed with a keyboard and mouse in mind so a controller is just an added feature. I found in the main that a controller was fine but in a couple of instances with very narrow ledges I switched to keyboard to complete.
The way the game saves your progress is a bit annoying. Throughout the game there are small caves where you can save your progress. At the moment this is the only place you can save your game and then load. If you die whilst playing the game you usually spawn pretty close to where you died but if you quit the game it will load the game from the last cave. Be careful and mindful when quitting the game. I think this would be fine but due to some stability issues throughout the game I did experience the odd crash which sent me back to the last cave. I had to complete the scene again. I have spoken to the developer about this and he is very keen to help. He spent a few hours going through logs and bug reports trying to find the issues I was experiencing and offered me a save game. The crashes did not appear to be fatal every time though and with perseverance I did manage to navigate through the places where it crashed the second time. It appears that some people do experience crashes and some people do not. Although annoying at the time I am still glad that I didn’t give up and miss out on such a wonderful game. The developer is very willing to take on suggestions and has agreed to look at adding more save places.
The main mechanic in the story is your violin. You have free play where you play the notes as you like or you use your violin to cast powerful abilities. Pressing and holding RB brings out your violin. Pressing up, left, right on your d-pad and the B button plays the notes. The notes you need to play are quite easy and you won’t have much difficulty in getting the notes right. The process is a lot like a very basic Rocksmith where you press the corresponding direction button when the cursor is over the note.

Story:
The story is where this game really shines. If you can look past the minor irritations of joystick controls and crashes then you will be rewarded with a well told and memorable story. The story probably means different things to different people and I imagine it can be interpreted in lots of different ways. Love, loss, regret, fear are all explored in very unusual ways aided by a strange narrator in a mask. Who is he? Can she remember her forgotten memories and let go of the past? The story is told very well through action scenes within the game and then cut scenes. The art style is beautiful and very unusual. I really enjoyed the ending to the game.

Sound: 🎵
The sound is amazing. I suppose when you build a game around music it is important to have a good soundtrack. This game certainly does not disappoint. From great wind and special effects to the haunting soundtrack played at key moments. It all adds to the emotion and ambience. At moments of high tension and danger the sound is used to create a sense of panic and horror. At some points the music got louder and louder and louder until I had to turn it down. It’s all there to create an effect though and it worked.

Graphics: 📺
Stunning graphics. The scenery is amazing and it has the best cloud and water effects I have seen in a game. I just liked looking at the suns reflection in the water as the yellow glow bobbed up and down with the waves. It was beautiful. The creatures were excellently drawn and the movement was very realistic. The visuals are a huge plus for the game.

Conclusion
I loved this game. It was original, unusual, sensitive and scary in places. The excellent graphics and sound created a wonderful environment to explore and solve puzzles in. I’m glad I stuck with the game and replayed the sections that crashed. It was annoying but well worth the effort. It’s such a shame the stability issues exist as I would have quite easily given it a 9 without them.

Pros: 👍
Amazing visual treat
Wonderful soundtrack and special effects
Memorable storyline with unusual and original ideas

Cons: 👎
Controller movement is too sensitive and hard to keep character running in a straight line or navigating thin ledges.
Stability issues especially on chapter 2 for me. Had a few crashes during the game.
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