(Wii U eShop)

Master Reboot (Wii U eShop)

Game Review

Master Reboot Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Or Enaid Coll, if you prefer

With its continual growth the Wii U eShop library is bringing us a diverse range of games across various genres, yet Master Reboot from Wales Interactive nevertheless succeeds in delivering something unique to the platform. Previously released on PC and PSN, it's an ambitious effort that has moments of brilliance and a palpably tense atmosphere, albeit with some limitations that are hard to ignore.

Master Reboot's storyline is a neat slice of sci-fi horror, and it would be a disservice to anyone reading this to spoil too much. The overall setting is within the Soul Cloud, an ethereal yet digital place in which you experience distinct memories — it's been corrupted, however, and a mysterious and rather creepy young girl haunts you through twisted, distorted scenes of the protagonist's memory. The key ingredient to the game as a whole is its insistence that you figure out the intricacies of the plot, and how you interact with the world, without hand-holding and assistance.

It's a solid concept, with the first-person perspective doing much to tap into the current craze for scary games on various platforms. This has more storytelling depth than a lot of these games that target jump scares, but there's undoubted tension here that's cleverly brought on by restrictive lighting and ominous sound effects; we certainly jumped a few times and, in general, became absorbed in the more anxious set-pieces.

This is, after all, a game of isolated set-pieces. In the context of exploring memories this is a perfect fit, as you enter a variety of rooms that represent memories ranging from a nursery, to a school, a playground, and then more grown-up settings such as a flight, day at the beach and a library. Unlocked in blocks, it's certainly recommended to tackle them in the order they appear, and forming a coherent picture of events requires a fastidious approach to hunting out clues and suggestions; these often take the form of blue ducks, with notes and documents teasing you along. Initial confusion over what's happening — and the identity of your own character — gradually subsides, and the developer's done an impressive job of taking locations familiar to many and applying a twist of light horror.

Exploration of these areas is the key to the title, though there are puzzles and tasks in each. It's a diverse mix, though this is where the experience goes through varying degrees of quality; some areas have relatively clever puzzles, others are simply tasks to collect a variety of items, and there are occasional examples that struggle to maintain a strong standard. The ambitious push for diversity in a download game always has the potential to serve up some missteps, so it's perhaps not overly surprising that some scenarios are far weaker than the stand-outs.

The most enjoyable sections, in general, are those that don't require a great deal of precision. The controls are functional, with dual screen analogue for movement and the camera, along with interaction, crouch and jump buttons, though in general movement is a tad unwieldy. Part of the problem is the variable performance of the engine, as this title rarely runs as smoothly as we'd like; most of the time it's not an issue, though there's occasional frustration with aiming or jumping that can be disappointing.

It's a surprise that the framerate can struggle, meanwhile, as the visuals are relatively crude. That's not a negative, in particular, as a simplistic engine is enhanced by some impressive art design, with some environments and effects being among the most stylish we've seen in an eShop title. Considering the developer's ability to make the most of a basic engine, then, it's surprising that some image stills for the storyline look painfully basic; it may have been a style choice, but if so it's an unfortunate one. What matters is the core game, however, and it's successful in providing an atmospheric, interesting world.

Overall, Master Reboot delivers an interesting, relatively unique experience, taking us around five hours to see through to the end. The storyline evolves nicely and there are some undoubted high points, and there's an ongoing sense that this has been a passion project for the team — right down to the inclusion of Welsh as a language choice, reflecting the studio's homeland and perhaps acknowledging the public funding it's received. Despite its flaws, it has moments of strength that redeem the whole project.

Conclusion

Master Reboot is an intriguing first-person adventure that, with a willingness to explore, provides copious doses of atmosphere, tension, and sci-fi horror. Some moments are terrific, yet on the flipside some scenarios disappoint, while general sloppiness in the controls and technical performance are relatively forgiveable drawbacks. Full of creativity and enjoyable moments, this is worthy of booting up that Wii U.

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Game Trailer

User Comments (33)

JakeShapiroAdmin

#1

JakeShapiro said:

I'm so happy to see games like this on Wii U – does this mean we get Dear Esther and Papers, Please next? A boy can dream.

maxcriden

#3

maxcriden said:

How scary is the game, and how explicit is the content? The trailer terrified me!

ChessboardMan

#4

ChessboardMan said:

@JakeShapiro I can imagine papers please working beautifully with two screens, since the game already splits the screen, to show inside your office and the view of the queue/border, right?A WiiU, or 3DS, version would be amazing.

Jockk

#5

Jockk said:

I was disappointed at this game, not scary at all I'm afraid and the graphics are abit to simplistic at some points, i struggle to get inspired and motivated to continue playing, and exploring the areas and levels.

ThomasBW84Admin

#6

ThomasBW84 said:

@maxcriden It's not explicit at all (if you mean swearing and nudity?) In terms of scares, I'd describe it as creepy most of the time — I only jumped a few times, but enjoyed the atmosphere.

Swithom

#7

Swithom said:

I really liked playing this game but it is short...
@maxcriden It's NOT explicit and there are moments that will freak you out but they overplay the horror aspects in the trailer massively. What it presents really well is a feeling of isolation the nervousness of being alone and helpless in a hostile world, moments of panic are scattered throughout but it's mostly just the tension it struggles (bust mostly suceeds) on pushing through.

MussakkuLaden

#9

MussakkuLaden said:

Hmm, the art style looks downright horrible. But then the overall presentation and the ideas look really interesting. If that ever drops to 5.00 or so, I may give it a try, especially as it's a pleasantly short game.

maxcriden

#10

maxcriden said:

@ThomasBW84
@Swithom

Thanks guys! I'm glad it is not terribly scary. I like thrillers but not horror-type games so it sounds like I could enjoy it.

P.S. Thomas I left you a longer comment/question in the Wooden Sen'SeY review if you have a chance to check it out. Thanks!

OrangeCluster

#11

OrangeCluster said:

@maxcriden The game has a few jump scares but I don't consider it to be all that scary.

I probably wouldn't have rated it so high, especially with the glitch on the final boss battle (that doesn't exist on the Steam version as far as I know) that makes you have to reset your game if you fail to beat him before the time runs out, forcing you to replay about 15 minutes of the game.

ThomasBW84Admin

#12

ThomasBW84 said:

@OrangeCluster I thought that was the game screwing with me, it seemed to be following the theme!

I think this is the sort of game that, given a bigger budget and more polish, could be a stand-out. It has flaws though, and I'd also say that titles in this style are often divisive with any audience.

Ultimately, this sort of experience doesn't push everyone's buttons, though that applies to a lot of games :)

OrangeCluster

#14

OrangeCluster said:

@ThomasBW84 The thing is that this sort of games usually appeals to me, and to some extent Master Reboot managed to grab my attention through it's gorgeous vistas and amazing sound but the story, even with the blue rubber duckies to piece everything together, is pretty hard to follow and the platforming sections, while scarce, are dreadful.
I do agree that this would be a stellar game given a bigger budget and all because Wales Interactive did a lot of things right and I'm glad that other people seemed to enjoy the game more than I did too.
Personally I think I'd give it a 6/10, would recommend it to pretty much anyone whenever it goes on sale.

Swithom

#15

Swithom said:

@OrangeCluster I think that is deliberate...
If you get the untold backstory it kind of makes sense. But yes, the game is full of rough edges and that is one. To be fair though it's not THAT much you need to replay. I heard people moaning about it before I started so when it happened to me I thought 'it's not put me THAT far back'

Sean_Aaron

#16

Sean_Aaron said:

Hmmm, I might have to check this out. Be nice to see a revisit to fix any issues as I think this is sounding like a strong title for the team.

OrangeCluster

#18

OrangeCluster said:

@Swithom You might be right about that but said problem shouldn't even exist to begin with, and even if we look past that it still kinda makes me wish you could skip the cutscenes. Oh well, I still consider this a huge, HUGE improvement over their other eShop game, Gravity Badgers.

ThomasBW84Admin

#19

ThomasBW84 said:

@Hero-of-WiiU The EU size is in the game overview bar, top right. Typically we'll fill it in for the review's region, which should be pretty close for the other region too.

zipmonStaff

#20

zipmon said:

...the inclusion of Welsh as a language choice...

Wow! This just went from 'never heard of it' to 'yn prynu nawr' - bendigedig!!

Yomerodes

#21

Yomerodes said:

Would be interesting if we could compare the sales of this 7/10 game at 15 bucks, against The Letter, the 2/10 game at 2 bucks.

Because as far the average owner visiting the eshop goes, the only thing he will know is that both are terror first person games, and one is more than seven times cheaper than the other.

FilmerNgameR

#22

FilmerNgameR said:

It would be cool seeing more games like this on Wii U but scarier. Maybe something like Outlast. A game like Outlast on Wii U would send Miiverse in a frenzy though. lol

DerpSandwich

#23

DerpSandwich said:

I'm way way into what this game is about. Just seems to unpolished for the price though. I'd love to pick it up someday if it gets a pretty hefty sale.

mch

#24

mch said:

Great review, thank you sir!
This Game sounds very special. Seems to be a real emotional adventure!

Rezalack

#25

Rezalack said:

@outburst Well, I'd say it's safe to get your hopes up for that one. The devs have said that they would like to bring it to Wii U in time, though probably NOT very soon. (Rogue Legacy that is.) I've been wanting to play it really bad, just holding out for a possible Wii U release..

outburst

#26

outburst said:

@Spuratis
Nice! I've stopped buying games on Steam for a while. I don't feel like playing some indie games on PC. I think some of them feel right playing on consoles. Plus I wanna support the Wii U. :) thanks for the info. I how they bring it to the Wii U soon!

JustinH

#27

JustinH said:

@JakeShapiro I just beat Papers, Please this weekend and it'd be perfect on the Wii U. But there is some nudity and maybe that'd keep it off the platform. I hope not, though. I'd probably grab it again on Wii U.

@outburst @Spuratis Also agreed on Rogue Legacy! That game is nothing short of brilliant.

Shambo

#29

Shambo said:

I'm some time in it now, and I must say I've enjoyed it quite a lot. Not all scenario's equally, indeed, but the experience is worth it!

Sir_Deadly

#30

Sir_Deadly said:

VERY interesting game, gave me some jumps. I hope a sequel is in the works and i believe Infinity Runner (Wales Interactive also made) is coming to the Wii U! Its nice to see new types of games like this come along.

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