Somerville – Review
Follow Genre: adventure game
Developer: Jumpship
Publisher: Jumpship
Platform: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
Tested on: PS5

Somerville – Review

Site Score
Good: Great atmosphere, fun puzzles
Bad: Vague narative
User Score
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Somerville is the newest game by one of the great minds behind classic adventure games Inside and Limbo. Since these games are considered some of the best in the genre, this newest mystery adventure about surviving during an alien invasion has quite some shoes to fill. The game already received some mixed reviews on PC and Xbox consoles last year, but now this title finally has a release on PlayStation and adds some small adjustments to fully utilize the PS5’s features. Will these adjustments end up making the game better?


Somerville tells the story of a normal family man whose life quickly turns upside down. One evening when he is watching TV with his family, a mysterious light appears outside the window and things escalate pretty quickly when it becomes clear humanity isn’t the only sentient species in the galaxy. To make matters worse, the extraterrestrial visitors aren’t here with friendly intent. After a spaceship crashes into their house and the nameless main character touches the seemingly humanoid pilot, a burst of light seemingly leaves him for dead. When he comes to, however, some time has passed and the man suddenly has some light-altering powers. Now he has to travel across a war-ridden land with his dog companion, to find his lost family.

Show, don’t tell, is a concept Somerville takes quite literally since no single word is said throughout the game. This adds to the feeling of mystery and being lost in a destroyed world, leaving a lot of things up to the player for interpretation. This, however, can become a bit of a bummer for people who like to have at least a bit of an explanation, since nothing is very clear about the three-hour experience. Who is fighting against the aliens? What are the powers that you get? Who are the mysterious figures that help you out? And what happens in the pretty vague ending? None of these questions are answered, so the story feels very catered towards players who like to fill in the blanks for themselves.


Somerville opts to go for a simplistic and artistic style. The world and the characters have a rough and unrefined look to it, with rough edges and no faces. While this isn’t the prettiest and most colorful thing to look at, it does fit the mysterious and dark atmosphere of the game. Aside from this art style, the game also likes to play with light, since the main character’s powers are based on this. This creates a nice contrast between the destroyed world and the alien invaders.


Since there are no words spoken by any of the characters, all of the sound design focuses on creating the atmosphere of the game. The music is pretty silent when traveling the world, adding to the feeling of loneliness, but it picks up once you encounter the alien invaders to emphasize the stress and uncanniness of the situation. Along with the tempo increase are a lot of synthesizer sound effects that fit the neon style of these encounters very well.


Somerville is an adventure game with a big focus on traversal and puzzle solving. You take control of a father who is looking for his family in a destroyed wasteland, taking a lot of inspiration from the developer’s previous titles. You will face a ton of life-threatening hurdles to overcome, both by fleeing and fighting your way through the ravaged lands and cities.

At quite some parts of the game, Somerville could be considered a walking simulator. You travel through a collection of different locations, often not interacting with much between puzzles or more intense set pieces. While this doesn’t sound too exciting, none of these sections are that long since the game itself can be beaten in a few hours. These segments also give you the opportunity to take in the scenery and add to the feeling of hopelessness and mystery. Another fact that makes these sections more enjoyable is the surprising variety in scenery.

When you aren’t walking, however, the game can get pretty intense. Facing the extraterrestrial invaders is often a heart-pounding chase or a game of hide and seek. This is where the neon effects of the aliens come into play, letting you keep out of sight from big searchlights and run for your life when they do see you. But hiding away isn’t the only gameplay you’ll be enjoying, since your character has some powers to play around with as well. When you first encounter the aliens at the start of the game, you’ll receive some powers that influence light sources around you. With these powers, you’ll be able to influence a type of alien liquid that fills a lot of the terrain and blocks your way. This mechanic will be used for a collection of puzzles where you alter this liquid or the things around it to clear the way forward or help you hide from the invaders. Throughout the game, some new elements and powers are introduced to keep these puzzles fresh, which is very welcome, since they can become repetitive towards the end of some sections. A small noteworthy thing on PS5 is that the game makes use of the haptic feedback and light features of the controller, which isn’t game-changing but ends up being a fun addition nonetheless.


Somerville is a short but fun adventure puzzle game that does a lot of things right but it sadly doesn’t have the same impact that other titles developed by Jumpship have. The presentation is quite good and helps deliver an atmosphere of mystery and hopelessness. This fits perfectly with the gameplay that is focused on walking and solving puzzles, which is fun, but it can become just too repetitive in some instances. The story, however, is where the game stumbles, as it keeps a lot of things too vague, which some players may like, but people who are looking for a more traditional narrative will be left disappointed.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Somerville - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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