East is East.


Sometimes it’s good to get a break from the constant bombardment of season pass driven games and always online open-ended gaming and just enjoy a single player story driven tale.  It is a bit of a rare thing these days, but Industria by Berlin and Glasgow based studio Bleakmill ticks that box and has just made the jump to the next-gen machines.  It’s a classic “What If” tale that takes history as we know it and plays around with the rules a bit, as it is set on the evening of the fall of the Berlin wall.  At the same time a “science” experiment goes wrong and sees you fill the boots of Nora – a young go-get-‘em sort of woman -, plunged into a parallel dimension trying find her missing work colleague, Walter, who has disappeared.

The new East Berlin you find yourself in is far from a picture postcard.  It has been left in ruins and overrun by robots who (you guessed it) want to bust your melon open every chance they get.  So it’s up to you to find your Walter, get to the bottom of what’s happened and hope you can make it home to hear David Hasselhoff sing “Looking For Freedom” on what is left of the Berlin Wall.  A bit of a disclaimer about the game (as I feel it need highlight just now), and that’s that Industria is mainly created by a team of just two, which will gear your expectations, as well as explain a few of the issues as it’s not a huge production.

The game walks a fine line between walking sim and FPS as it has a clear break in search sections and fighting, which isn’t an issue really… but you do peg which is which quickly.  The strength in Industria is the world, as each area looks to tell you a new tale and sets the mood of what happened there, with crisp and detailed locations hinting at the fall of its people.  Although it can be a bit slow paced, it does a good job at hooking you in, as you wander the abandoned streets.  Where it falls down though, is the combat which is a bit by the numbers, as you battle a handful of enemies each with their own attacks – from melee to shooting and just exploding.  However, gunplay is sloppy at best, with very little feedback or feeling of impact.  It’s also borderline broken if I’m being fair as the melee enemies charge attack you, though time your back step and you’ll dispatch them without a scratch time and time again with a well-timed axe swing.

What fares a bit better is the puzzle side of the game, where you explore as well as try and find items to help you.  It ranges from finding a wheel to open a door, to having to read a note for a door code with zero prompting of what to do.  So it’s very hot and cold.  Also movement is an issue and not being able to move diagonally is a real WTF moment.  You try dodging incoming attacks, only to be locked on the standard axis, though maybe this is an effect of being in a parallel dimension.  Jumping is just murder, with you jumping like a baby often having to looking around to find boxes to hop from to get high enough.

Now I could go really town on this game, because let’s be honest it’s wildly imperfect, even broken at points, which kills the fun in a second.  It’s a real shame as there is a kernel of interest and mystery at the core of its tale and world.  That nugget is strong enough to get you to the credits (in under four hours) even if it is through gritted teeth, which is the main thing that lets Industia down.

An Xbox Series X|S review copy of Industria was provided by Bleakmill’s PR team, and the game is available now on Xbox, PlayStation and PC for around £17.

The Verdict


The Good: World | Tale

The Bad: Controls | Gunplay | Pacing

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Stuart Cullen

Scotland’s very own thorn in the side of the London gaming scene bringing all the hottest action straight from The Sun… well… The Scottish Sun at least, every week!

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