What happens if evil spirits corrupt digitalized memories of the deceased?
Welcome to the world of Master Reboot, which revolves around an institute that creates the Soul Cloud; a way to preserve memories of the deceased for friends and relatives to visit. But when the system becomes corrupted and turns evil our female protagonist has to put a stop to the servers.
The game can best be described as puzzle game from a first person perspective. There is enough diversity here to keep players busy. Master Reboot had me searching for items, recreating a musical piece or shooting targets on a fairground attraction. Most of these goals are pretty straightforward and rarely challenging, but never to a point of annoyance. Upon completing these challenges players are presented with a short cartoon clip explaining the events you just pieced together from the Soul Cloud's memories.
As interesting as the story starts out, it quickly falls flat due to the lack of detail. Master Reboot remains vague and the bits and pieces you find aren’t enough to form a complete picture. The game never really follow through with the mechanic of piecing together memories. Master Reboot is also quite vague in its intentions, often forcing you to wander around aimlessly until you find the small detail it wanted you to find. I am a big fan of games teaching you through gameplay, but when I get annoyed because I have no clue as of what to do next, it’s poor game design.
Despite the rather bland looking graphics, the game manages to create a creepy atmosphere and there were moments where I genuinely tensed up. Unfortunately Wales Interactive reverts to cheap jump scares too often provide a lasting impact. Master Reboot has its pretty moments, like in seeing the sun coming through the trees in a forest, but most of the graphics are subpar. Most objects are completely textureless and character models seem too simple. Big square shapes also make up most of the environment, making Master Reboot look like a nineties PC-game. One could argue an intentional art style, but the reality is that Master Reboot looks pretty underwhelming. Luckily the audio messes with you enough to sort-of oversee this shortcoming. Distant screams, scratches and sudden thumps behind you as you focus on a puzzle are unnerving to say the least.
The controls are quite clunky, but due to the slow pace of the game it's never a big problem. At least until I ran into the completely misplaced first person platforming which the game doesn’t need at all. Admittedly these moments are sporadic, but they add unneeded frustration to the experience. An even bigger problem are the many bugs I ran into during my time in the Soul Cloud. It’s a shame as the game isn’t terrible, but its good ideas are poorly executed–making a potentially great game feel unsatisfactory in the end.