Way back in the mid 1990’s I first played a game called Myst for my PC, one of the most mind blowing game I’d ever played, with its unique setting, story and gameplay, diverse locations and live action cut scenes, spawning a series that has stamped its place as one of the best point-and-click adventure series’ ever made.
On playing 1953 KGB Unleashed, the Myst games came to mind because of the similar point-and-click gameplay. Unfortunately, the similarities stop there, developed by PHANTOMERY INTERACTIVE and Published by German publishers UIG, 1953 KGB Unleashed is a standard point-and-click puzzler that, while maintaining and utilizing the dying genres mechanics perfectly, fails to stand out from the crowd.
The story is bare bones, set in 1953 Moscow, you wake to find yourself in a random Russian workshop with alarms going off around you and no electricity as you start on your quest to find out why your there, what happened and where everybody is.
Sadly the story isn’t fuelled by flashy cut scenes, as a matter of fact; there are no cut scenes at all in the game, apart from the very brief intro and the even briefer ending. The only way to find anything out is to read the assorted scattering of documents randomly placed around the game, and there are a many
This is definitely a game for the readers and those who look in every nook and cranny, as key items are excellently hidden throughout the game world, but are not highlighted in any way to indicate their importance, or whether you can pick them up at all. It is very frustrating, and I found myself in the first 2 rooms of the game for a good half hour before I even knew how to progress. Luckily though every document read is transferred to your trusty handbook for reference, to help with the many challenging puzzles throughout the game.
The gameplay is standard point-and-click, you control an on screen cursor with the mouse, it changes colour whenever a key location or document is being pointed at, click to either pick up and read a document, pick up an item or walk to a specific location that is basically it. Its basic but it works. Solving the games many intricate and complicated puzzles requires a high degree of intelligence and the ability to pay attention to small details, and successfully solving these puzzles is not very rewarding.
The visuals are unimpressive but what else would you expect in a 1950’s Russian bunker? Although highly detailed and varying, they leave a lot to be desired in a game as dark and grim as this. Talking about dark, 1953 KGB Unleashed is dark and dingy and the sense of isolation and loneliness is hard to avoid, but makes this game slightly enjoyable assisted by the anonymous Saw-like voice over the tanoy system, that appears at different points during the game.
The creepy atmosphere is evident from start to finish making you feel uneasy and tense however this never peaks to jumps and scares, which as I was playing this game, was expecting.
Finally there is the games climax, which disappointed big style, after all the effort solving the super hard puzzles, the games close (without giving away any spoilers) is the equivalent of receiving a huge present at Christmas only to open it to find absolutely nothing, It leaves you feeling deflated. KGB Unleashed turns from 1950’s war film to X-files mid-way through with things turning paranormal which gives the game a twist in the story and increases the tension, but does nothing to make you want to continue on.
1953 KGB Unleashed is nothing more than a sub-par point-and-click adventure game, which fails to impress both narratively and graphically. The unnerving atmosphere and tension rollercoaster this game makes you go through may motivate some to tackle its PHD requiring puzzles, but for the majority, it’s not worth the hassle. Don’t be surprised to find this game in the bargain bin at your local supermarket. I score 1953 KGB Unleashed 4/10.
- Kgb Unleashed
- Developer: Phantomery Interactive
- Publisher: UIG
- Genre: Point/Click Puzzle
- Release date: August 2012