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Submachine as a series started out as a simple escape room game. I didn't think much of it at the time. But it was well made, the puzzles were intuitive, and you were drawn into it thanks to it's masterful sense of atmosphere. The visuals were simple but stylish, and albeit being a short experience, The Basement left an impression.
But Mateusz Skutnik has ambition. With the second game it was immediately clear that there was more to it. It incorporated elements of science fiction and set the ground work for an evolving scenario revealed in subtle and mysterious fragments via notes sprinkled throughout the locations of the game, left by previous explorers.
The series has kept evolving with every installment, almost always bringing something new to the table, and playing each of them in order (which is crucial for the story) is a mind-boggingly wonderful experience.
There seems to be a general consensus amongst players that the fourth game, The Lab, is the best one of the series. Although I will admit that it is indeed the most complete and the hardest one to finish, mostly due to the player having to navigate a large number of locations, keeping up with a lot of complex puzzles and a lot of inventory items : it will undoubtedly please fans of old school adventure games, but the best one thus far is The Core, the seventh installment.
I will not spoil the scenario for those of you who haven't played it, but The Core occurs at a crucial moment in the development of the intrigue. The plot by that point has become fleshed out enough that we can keep up with the events as they unfold, but not as much as to know where it will take us next, and it's fascinating.
The Core showcases every aspect of Skutnik's mastery in building an ambience with as little elements as possible, helped only by wonderful sets and bright design ideas. The music is perhaps the best in the entire series, and gives the overall experience a haunting and dreadful feeling of a world coming to a turn, or an end.
The world of the Submachine is a lonely and desperate place, but when in the right mood it oozes of estranged beauty in the exact same way the Myst games achieved putting us in a state of eerie bewilderment at a world that seems like it was under the reign of a deity which left a long time ago, and left chaos behind...
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