Pneuma: Breath of Life is billed as being “an enthralling first person puzzler” and “designed to force players to think outside the box”, it seems too good to miss. Picking it up for the first time it looks great, built using Unreal Engine 4 the visuals are spot on, well for the first 10 minutes or so at least, as it all starts to look a bit similar as you progress through the game. Deco Digital and Bevel Studios could have mixed things up a bit more with the environment.
Also notable, what can only be described as irritating and is there from the get go is the voice over. That unfortunately lasts the entirety of the game, making the experience just horrible. These are the thoughts of the character we are controlling, constantly questioning everything that is happening in the world, and contemplating whether he is a god of some sort.
The gameplay on the whole is a complete let down, reading the game’s description makes you think you’re about to take on ‘Krypton Factor’ worthy puzzles. Instead you are met with simple observational puzzles mainly consisting of finding eye shaped sensors, and working out how they react to your movement to solve the connected puzzle. There are other simple puzzles that add a little variety, such as rotating platforms and floor tiles. Nothing that blows your mind though.
The game as a whole is relatively short lived. It can be completed in around 3-4 hours, with nothing to go back for other than a couple of missable achievements. Speaking of which the achievements in Pneuma: Breath of Life are relatively easy to get, gaining 100G achievements for each of the games chapters and a couple linked to some hidden puzzles, sadly this is probably the games biggest plus point, easy gamerscore.
Pneuma just lacks overall, it does feel like it was meant to be something more than what it is, but fell short, badly. There is no real stand out moments or sense of real achievement from completing any of the game’s puzzles. The only good thing it has going for it are the visuals and even they become dull after some time, and you’ll probably find yourself playing just for the easy gamerscore. Well overpriced for what you get and probably best left well alone unless you can pick it up during a sale or (as you can this month, Nov 2015) grab it for free with Games with Gold.