The Bunker Review

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Spoiler Free

The 90’s brought us some of the coolest (and weirdest) things you could ever ask for in a childhood; which you just can’t beat – Supersizing at McDonalds, Pogs, the N64, and one of my all time 90’s favourites…Crash Bandicoot. There were also a number of parts of that era that now seem strange like Floppy Disks, watching MTV for music videos, or full-motion video (FMV) which were usually made up of a bunch of no-name actors and were about as fun as watching golf whilst hungover.

Because of this, FMV games for the most part have been forgotten with the occasional developer taking a stab at it, most memorably 2015’s “Her Story” where you had to search through a database of video clips from fictional police interviews, then use the clips to solve the case of a missing person. The gameplay and acting in this game were so incredibly intelligent, that it made the FMV aspect of the game, a complete joy to watch.

The Bunker (created by Welsh dev Splendy Games) not only features FMV, but is a complete live action experience giving it more of a feeling of an interactive film. And that’s fine with me. The story is strong enough to keep your eyes latched to the screen for 2 – 3 hours and keeps your attention sharp for the occasional quick time event.

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You play as John, a 30-year old man that was born in a poorly designed nuclear bunker and has never seen life outside of the walls of the government facility. As you play through, you discover how John became the last remaining survivor within the bunker, and his life of following “the routine” to keep the place running smoothly until he can resurface. Things don’t go to plan when a random error forces John into doing some emergency repairs to continue his survival.

John has spent his entire life sheltered both mentally and physically by his only family member – his mother, which has given him a childlike naivety and fear of anything he’s not familiar with. The role of John is masterfully acted by Adam Brown (also known for his role as Ori in The Hobbit), who takes you through a range of emotions and challenges that John has to experience on his own. There’s a constant sense of feeling uneasy and that maybe you’re not entirely alone. The game never throws any cheap jump scares at you for no reason, instead it’s intelligent in the way it makes you feel uneasy, which is greatly helped by the fact you’re trapped underground and not allowed to leave.

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Adam Brown’s acting isn’t the only one worth mentioning, as Sarah Greene also gives a stellar performance as John’s mother, amongst a whole host of supporting characters. You never feel like the cast just came to set after remembering some lines, it genuinely feels like these people are survivors of a nuclear bombing and you’re witnessing something that actually happened.

It’s hard to find anything I would consider a major issue towards player enjoyment, as the game doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not, but if I had to find the needle – some more puzzles would’ve made this a challenging experience. And if you don’t make any decisions for a while, the video would go on a loop…but that’s it. Trying to find anything else would just be unfair.

If you like the sound of what you’ve read and get a few hours spare one evening, take a chance and download this game. It’s available on PS4, Xbox One, PC and later in the year it’ll coming to Android and iOS, so there’s plenty of reason to play.

Just be prepared for afterwards, when you may feel the need to take a long walk in the park as you contemplate things, and Morgan Freeman narrates your thoughts.

SNIKT!

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