Playstation-Renaissance. These were the first words that came to my mind when I first saw and played Abducted. Why? It feels like a hybrid of Parasite Eve and J.U.L.I.A.: Among the stars, combining a cinematic third-person-adventure with old school point and click, including deep story, puzzles and insta-deaths. If you are interested, please read further.
Chapter I: Story & Lore
I do not want to spoil everything for you so let me start with this: A woman awakes in a strange place, figuring it might be some kind of alien spaceship and besides your name there is not much memory left. How did you get there? And why? Fortunately, you are not alone. Your arm speaks with you. Well, not exactly your arm but a gadget you seem to wear that looks half mechanical, half biological. It contains an AI that speaks with you, trying to explain your surroundings and purpose. It is obvious that something must have happened to her and to this ship. You, the player, shall unfold it.
While exploring the ship you stumble across a lot of strange or unique things and beings that own a very nice lore and description, for example morphing alien skin, blind and unmerciful tentacles and panels, growing like trees from the ground. Additionally, ARM (The name I will refer to your gadget) provides you with a huge database, filled with useful information about everything and has some interesting dialogue options to offer. It is clear right from the start that the developers try to create a strong fictional environment that sucks you up, at least if you are interested in story-driven games.
Chapter II: Gameplay & Mechanics
As stated before, this game tries to approach gamers with a classical style, meaning a fixed and directed camera to create a cinematic experience and movement via mouse-clicking while weaving puzzles, try-and-error-passages and even combat into the third-person-gameplay. Saying this it should be already clear that Abducted is not a game for everybody. Moving onto pillars or downwards happens via clicking, meaning: If she can reach the spot, she will do it via climbing or jumping without forcing you to press any other inputs. She is human after all so don`t expect her to jump 2 meters upwards or run like a gepard, something you should keep in mind when there is a difficult passage to solve where some moving pillars might crush your humble body if you were to slow.
Exploration, Puzzles and Combat are things you should expect. Look around and read a lot, find unique stuff and ask ARM about it. Puzzles I have encountered so far can be mostly solved in two different ways: Hacking or “Solving”. Choosing the Hack-Option, you are forced to play a small mini-game to overcome the “security system”. This can be tough sometimes and the further you approach ingame, the harder it gets. Option 2 uses symbols of an unknown alien language. Find the right “letters” and don`t let yourself get tricked, the system tries to mix true and false symbols. It`s not too hard but not too easy either, so expect to be fairly challenged. Combat is something that happens in real time, forcing Eve (the name I chose for her) to use a shield, a pulsar laser or even manipulation, that works a bit like telekinesis. This is not really an action game so don`t expect yourself to run around shooting and killing all the time. It rather works with making the right choice at the right time. Sometimes it might come in handy to use manipulate, who said a pillar can`t be used as a weapon?
Something special I`d like to mention here is the skill tree. Finding objects, having dialogues, solving puzzles and killing stuff earns you skill points. These can be spent to strengthen your laser, boost the duration of your shield or making more objects available for manipulation. It`s a nice idea so far that adds some depth and satisfaction, although I think that the tree is not fully balanced and done so far. This might change in future updates.
Chapter III: Graphics, Sound & Atmosphere
Technically there is not much to argue about. The graphics look dark and somehow otherworldly, creating mostly organic surfaces and a breathing, living atmosphere. It feels more like running through a body than a ship, adding a true creepy mood to the game. The devs used their own engine here and it works fine so far. Sure, it is not top notch graphic like in Witcher 3, but that is something I don`t need to enjoy a good game. What should be said here is that there is not much to config right now, besides the resolution and there are still some bugs left like moving through certain small objects but the shapes used for tentacles and stuff do look really nice!
Low-Pitched, pumping sounds round out the atmosphere of being “abducted” but there could be more improvement to certain passages. I understand that I should get the impression of how “lonely” I am but the background would do well with a bit more noise and sound.
There is a lot of text in this game and I like it a lot. Adding a voice to ARM and Eve is not a necessity but it would add even more reliability when hearing Eves scared voice while she stumbles into her involuntary adventure.
Chapter IV: Conclusion, Summary & Valuation
What the game offers so far is the unfinished story mode with a catchy plot and a nice mixture of exploration, puzzle and (sometimes tricky) combat and a “Challenge Level”, that seems to function like a survival mode. The CL seems to be not done yet but is already worth a try. There are some bugs I found while playing and already reported, that will be squashed in future updates soon. This is an indie project and should be treated like one, keeping in mind that it only costs 9-10 $ right now.
I know, this Review is pretty much in detail. If you made it here, still reading, I am sure you are that kind of gamer who should give Abducted a try. I read the other reviews and also an answer that was written by one of the developers, focussing on how this game should be treated. It`s a classical take with modern graphics. If you came here for a generic (survival) horror like Slender and Co, you might be disappointed. If you are interested in a scary, well written fictional story, filled with lore and text, you must give Abducted a chance, it`s worth the try.
My personal verdict so far is 7,5 /10 since there is still lots of room for improvement left but the current state already offers an interesting and somehow unique game.