The Great Perhaps – Review
Follow Genre: 2-D Side scrolling platformer, puzzle
Developer: Caligari Games
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Tested on: Switch

The Great Perhaps – Review

Site Score
8.2
Good: A creative tale with interesting mechanic
Bad: A short adventure, emphasised by the amount of backtracking
User Score
7.4
(5 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 7.4/10 (5 votes cast)

The Great Perhaps is a 2-D side-scrolling puzzle platformer, and was developed and released for PS4, XBOX ONE and Nintendo Switch by Russian indie developer Caligari Games. While the title may seem vague, the intent becomes clear as the main time-traveling mechanic of the game is introduced and allows the player to interact with the past, changing what might have been and what could be…

Story

When starting this game, there is little idea of what to expect, as the title and imagery of the game leave a lot to the imagination. As such what is delivered is quite a surprise, though arguably a pleasant one.

The story is one of the core elements of this game, taking an extreme event and immediately pushing forward in a way that, whilst very linear, is engaging and intense. The player steps into the shoes of Kosmos, an astronaut aboard a space station orbiting the Earth during a cataclysmic event. As the world before him is engulfed in ash and communication is lost, the station’s AI puts him into stasis until the dust settles. Waking 100 years after the event, and feeling like no time had passed at all, Kosmos is determined to return to Earth, with AI in tow, to discover the fate of humanity, and find the remains of his long-dead loved ones. As the game’s puzzle elements are introduced, the player almost immediately stumbles upon a mysterious lantern that, with a simple switch, will open a window to the past, or taking Kosmos there and back. With this in hand, the dark and depressive tone slowly turns into one of slight hope with the underlying question of “can he change what happened?”

While apocalyptic sci-fi genres may be commonplace in today’s market, The Great Perhaps brings in an enjoyable change. As a player you’ll have the chance to fix what went wrong and save what was lost, instead of just surviving. That and the “self-learning” AI that teaches itself humor and increasingly strong levels of sarcasm, keep the player from wanting to know what The Great “Perhaps” is.

Graphics

Some may find the style of graphics basic. For many, this is likely the best feature of the game. From start to finish the hand-drawn visuals can be summed up in a simple word; beautiful.

Whether the drab tones of an apocalyptic future or the bright and colorful glimpses of the past, The Great Perhaps shows real thought and care has gone into its artwork. Alongside the dark story, we can’t help but reminisce about Valiant Hearts, the emotionally charged and highly awarded tale of four soldiers in WW1. The similar hand-drawn style and dull toned color pallet add a level of dread and curiosity that further engages with the story, deepening the immersion and desire to find out what lies at the end of the tale.

Sound

Whilst the sound didn’t immediately present itself as anything special, with basic voice-overs and quiet music, paying attention to it makes you realize this is largely intentional. Focusing on the puzzles, the quiet changes don’t distract or add intensity, but they do alter the tone of the setting. With slow, melodic sounds emphasizing the sad and quiet future, changing to mostly light-hearted and bustling sounds for the colorful past, it always sets the scene.

We only really started to appreciate these sequences when entering one of the few escape events in the game, and suddenly there was an intensity that hadn’t been present before, and the background music was brought to the fore.

Overall, while the voices and sounds are nothing special, the music was very well balanced throughout The Great Perhaps.

Gameplay

Bringing back memories of point and click adventures, there is a nostalgic simplicity to the gameplay, carrying a single item at any time to the point it needs to be utilized in order to progress. At its core, this is a very simple idea.

The Great Perhaps then adds to this idea, with its time travel mechanic. Using the mysterious lantern you find, you can view the other time or step into the other. If the tool you need or the door you want to get through is broken or blocked, or if a guy with a taser stands in your way, make a jump and Ta-da! problem solved. But beware! Just looking into the other time can make you miss things in your current moment, but not looking before you leap can be just as hazardous. This mechanism adds a clever twist to the gameplay that requires a little extra thought in how to resolve a problem.

However, this old style of single item interaction play does have its drawbacks. Solving these problems requires a lot of backtracking to get the right item for the job at hand; with some of the later puzzles, this meant moving between floors to use three or four items one at a time. At times it seems like a means to just draw out a game that is still only a few hours of play.

Conclusion

The Great Perhaps is short, potentially finished in a single sit down, and can at times be a little bothersome in its retracing of steps. However, this means very little in the grand scheme of things. It is well thought out in its story and gameplay, and lovingly crafted with its hand-drawn art and music. The overall effect of this is The Great Perhaps drawing you in, and quite often feeling like you are sitting down to get lost in a good book.

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Rating: 7.4/10 (5 votes cast)
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The Great Perhaps - Review, 7.4 out of 10 based on 5 ratings
Jayderlee
Jayderlee


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