Review: Master Reboot
One thing I love most about marathoning horror movies throughout all of October is seeing the various approaches to horror that different directors take. Personally I’m a fan of things that are far more subtle in their approach of terrifying you, but I also dig movies that are more in your face. So playing Outlast and Master Reboot within weeks of each other if nothing else has been fascinating in that both are so radically different while still aiming to be unsettling. In fact there’s a brief section in Master Reboot in which the sheer atmosphere of the place I was in was so unsettling that panic started to set in. I started running everywhere trying to find an exit as soon as possible because I couldn’t stand to be in that place any longer. While Master Reboot doesn’t always capture that sense of dread it does consistently deliver a very bizarre and memorable trip through distorted memories of your past.
In the future a new technology has formed that allows the memories and souls of those both alive and dead to be stored in a server in an attempt to render death obsolete. The Soul Cloud promises a chance to store all of your precious memories in a place where they’ll never be lost. Master Reboot begins as you enter into the Soul Cloud. You’re given a chance to journey through various major events within your life that throughout the game will begin to shed some light on who you are as well as how the Soul Cloud came into being. Before long you’ll realize that something is dangerously wrong as the Soul Cloud is infected with some sort of virus that manifests itself in the form of a young girl with glowing eyes. Along with revisiting past memories you’ll also need to prevent the virus from destroying the Soul Cloud along the memories and souls of everyone within it.
Master Reboot features no blood, violence, or anything else of that nature. There’s actually a number of areas where everything is bright and colorful. Instead Master Reboot relies on subtle cues to create a feeling that there is something off. Even though there are many instances where you are alone in a memory it never feels that way. Sometimes you might hear a whisper from behind you, foot steps that aren’t your own, and there are times where shadows appear to fade in and out of existence. There are moments where an entity does chase after you and you can ‘die’ if you’re caught but the screen goes black at those moments and there aren’t many of them. Instead your journey through each memory takes you through various locations both normal and incredibly bizarre. There are instances for example where it looks like you’re in a place straight out of Tron and in other times you simply walk along the beach.
Each memory usually takes anywhere from ten to twenty minutes and typically asks you to either complete a set number of tasks or simply to reach an exit. For instance the carnival memory requires you to complete a set number of games within the carnival to open up your way out. Within these memories are blue rubber ducks that provide small bits of back story to your character, your husband, and your friends. These are completely optional to pick up (though they’re not difficult to find) but if you don’t look at them you’ll miss out on a big chunk of the story. Most of the time you’re simply interacting with objects to see what they do and the puzzles are pretty straight forward.
Master Reboot is such a strange experience. As I mentioned there was one moment of the game where panic set in just because of how great the atmosphere in that memory was, but for the most part the game takes you through an incredibly bizarre journey due to the striking look of the game. Clocking in at a little over two hours Master Reboot is a strange ride that, perhaps fittingly, won’t be leaving my head. Instead of aiming for something that tries to be scary Master Reboot instead delivers a bizarre and sometimes unsettling journey through your mind. Unfortunately the story doesn’t end in a satisfying way but the strange journey you take getting there feels worth it enough.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Atmostphere/Sound Design
- Very distinct look
- At just over two hours the length feels right
What I Dislike:
- Not collecting blue ducks might mean you lose out on some key story points
- Ending wasn't as satisfying as I'd hoped