I sometimes find it difficult to get into big games. Running and shooting is not something I excel at. Climbing around can get annoying. One thing that always pulls me in is a game with puzzles. I loved Limbo and Inside. The Witness blew me away. My favorite part of Tomb Raider are the puzzles in the tombs. I love puzzles in games!
This is why I was excited to get to review 7th Sector, a puzzle adventure game set in a mysterious cyberpunk world, developed by Носков Сергей. Watching the game trailer made it feel like it would fill the void that has been there since completing Inside, years ago. 7th Sector is a dark game with puzzles galore. This should have been an amazing experience, but it ended up frustrating me more than anything.
7th Sector is visually stunning. It utilizes the darkness to give the player a real feel for the environment. The gameplay only allows for going left and right, but the background is just as important as the field in which you are allowed to move. The player needs to scan the background to pick out pieces of the story and to find clues to solve the array of puzzles. The story that the player sees in the background is not for young people, which I learned when my son saw a dead guy in a bathtub.
I had many mixed feelings about the puzzles in the game. There was a wide variety of them, which I appreciated, but some were so obtuse that I had to go to YouTube, or I would have never completed the game. Even after seeing the answer, I was baffled about how someone would be able to figure it out. One such puzzle requires you to count the people in a series of rooms. The rooms are dark, lights are moving, and there are pillars that get in the way. I tried this out many times and never could quite count them correctly.
Other puzzles were almost too easy. These puzzles often required you to line something up or pick shapes. I am sure there were hints on what needed to be done, but you can also just randomly try ones and complete the puzzle. This worked for some of the difficult puzzles as well.
Not all the puzzles were bad. There were several them that I really enjoyed and made me think without driving me to insanity. These puzzles consisted of choosing numbers to fit math problems, making shapes, stopping a moving part at just the right moment, choosing an action based on sounds in the game, or finding the answer written on a wall that you passed just before the puzzle.
Sadly, the negatives of 7th Sector are not limited to the puzzles. I loved the darkness of the game, but it often made it difficult to see what was required to complete the puzzles. I found myself having to stand two feet from the TV to be able to complete multiple puzzles. When playing in handheld, I had to hold the Switch up to my face to see everything. I have not played this on PC, but that might help a lot because you would end up sitting closer to the screen.
The controls in the game are also problematic because they feel very floaty. This often is not a huge issue, but there are times when you must make quick or precise movements. These controls feel worse depending on the form that the character is taking at the moment. Speaking of changing forms, the game does a terrible job of letting the player know what abilities each form has. A couple of the times I had to go to YouTube, I found the issue was I didn’t know I had certain abilities.
All in all, this is a game I should have loved. It’s dark, it has puzzles, and it was not very long. As I progressed through the game, I was just hoping it would end soon. Even as it ended, I felt let down. Games like this let you see the story as you pass by. The story often gives the player “the feels”. This story didn’t do that at all. Between the lack of story feels, the bad controls, and obtuse puzzles, I cannot recommend 7th Sector on the Switch.