Trüberbrook is a mystery adventure game developed by a small team called BTF. It tells the story of a nerdy physicist named Hans Tannhauser who wins a free trip to a small town in Germany, called Trüberbrook. While this may seem like a nice, quaint little town at first, Tannhauser quickly finds out that something is amiss when his notes are stolen from his hotel room. One thing leads to another and Tannhauser has teamed up with Gretchen Lemke, a paleontologist, who agrees to help him hunt for his notes, which ultimately ends being the adventure of a lifetime. Trüberbrook is filled with loads of puzzles and science fiction that will cause you to use every ounce of your problem-solving abilities.
Trüberbrook Review – A Quaint Little Town
The town of Trüberbrook is your stereotypical small town, where there are only a few places to go and everyone knows everyone. Once you have checked in with Edna, at the local hotel, you’re able to begin exploring the town. At first, there are only three locations that you can visit: the main town, the mountains, and the docks. As you continue to play the game, there are a few new locations that are made available to you. However, most of your time will be spent in the main part of Trüberbrook where the hotel is located.
Throughout the game, players are able to interact with various citizens of Trüberbrook, many of whom have been there for a long time. Talking with the locals will often give you insightful information about whatever item you’re trying to find or problem you’re trying to solve. Sometimes, you’ll even have to do favors for them to in exchange for information – looking at you Baron. While interacting with the NPC’s multiple times to see if they offer any new information can get old, it is an essential part of the game and allows you to really get engrossed and involved in the town.
Trüberbrook Review – Handcrafted Scenery
The most unique aspect of Trüberbrook was the fact that every scene in the game was handcrafted by set designers. This labor-intensive feature was one of the main reasons that the game was funded in just 30 hours by over 5,000 backers in its Kickstarter campaign. Each scene was hand made by the team at BTF, which allowed for loads of detail and eye-popping graphics that are visually appealing. Even the lighting and seasonal changes are done by hand, by adding different lighting to the set or redecorating the set to fit a specific season.
According to the Kickstarter page, once the set is complete it is digitized using a technique called photogrammetry and is then repolarized. Afterward, the characters are placed in the game digitally. One major complaint that I had with Trüberbrook is that there aren’t enough places to explore. However, when you think about all of the labor that this small team put into making each location in the game graphically stunning, a lot of my complaints can be excused. Trüberbrook offers a unique graphical feature that isn’t present in most games, and for me, that was enough to let go of the majority of my desire for more exploration.
Trüberbrook Review – An Impactful Short Story
I enjoyed the story that Trüberbrook told throughout the game. It is set up in different ‘Chapters’ with each one offering a new mystery to be solved. There are a total of five chapters in the game, with the last two taking up over half the game. Depending on your style of play, and how good you are at solving puzzles, the game will take around six hours, give or take an hour. The gameplay is a lot of fun and is quite intriguing, and there really aren’t dull moments or long boring cutscenes in the game.
With that being said, I am not totally sure it is worth the $30 price tag. While the game itself is fantastic and I would definitely recommend it, I wish it gave me at least one or two more Chapters. It is, however, worth noting that in the Kickstarter campaign, they have reached their funding goal for a Prologue and are still trying to be funded for a new Chapter. However, it seems the extra content is only going to be free for the backers, and then will be made available to anyone else who wants to purchase the extra content. I imagine the shorter story was due to budget restrictions of a small studio and the labor and cost intensive way that they create their set. So for some, that may be enough to overlook the $30 price tag for a sixish hour story.
Trüberbrook Review – A Series of Mysteries
As I mentioned above, the game is divided into Chapters, with each one offering its own unique mystery that needs to be solved. The puzzle could range from acquiring parts for a machine, finding items for the locals – again, looking at you Baron – trying to piece together clues, or a combination of them all. In a lot of the Chapters, the puzzles play off of one other. For example, in order to find a part for a machine, you’ll need to do a favor for someone in order to get the tool you need to acquire said part. It’s a pretty standard system when it comes to the mystery genre.
The puzzles offered in Trüberbrook are logical but can sometimes be incredibly hard yet painstakingly obvious. I remember one time I couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to do next, and was starting to get frustrated. Turns out, I simply missed an obvious way to interact with the environment that was right in front of my face. Please don’t misunderstand my ineptness as a complaint, it is merely an observation. If anything, it is a compliment to the developers for crafting puzzles that are difficult yet practical.
Trüberbrook Review – Final Thoughts
Trüberbrook is a very impressive mystery adventure game that will leave players wanting to experience more of Hans Tannhauser and the charming town of Trüberbrook. The unique, hand made graphics are one of the biggest, and most impressive features of the game and will likely leave you wanting to see more games made in the same style. A short story can leave players feeling a little bit disappointed at the end, despite challenging and well thought out puzzles throughout the game. Overall, Trüberbrook is a very special and quirky game that most people are going to love.
Trüberbrook review code provided by the publisher. Version 1.02 reviewed on a Standard PS4. For more information on scoring please see our Review Policy here.