Someday Youâ€™ll Return pitches itself as a horror puzzle game, doing itself a massive disservice it tries to cram too many ideas in leaving the player scratching their head wanting answers they donâ€™t receive.
Itâ€™s the first game by CBE software (a small two-person studio from the Czech Republic) since 2014 and follows the character, Daniel, into the woods to reluctantly find his lost daughter. Itâ€™s a chore for him. While other games have used a similar setupâ€”it had the potential to deliver a gripping story.
Unfortunately, the story is so convoluted. It meanders its way through seemingly unrelated scenes, one moment youâ€™re in the woods then you find yourself in a bunker and the next youâ€™re waking up in a field. There seems to be an inherent disconnect; it is a shame as you might have given up by the time it pulls itself together. The latter parts become more interesting; you find sections of a journal that pieces the story togetherâ€”but only if you find them.
There seems to be a real message behind the game, why is Daniel so put out finding his daughter, what happened at the camp, who is The Beast? While some of the answers are revealed, youâ€™ll get to the end trying to find one piece missing from an empty jigsaw box. Someday Youâ€™ll Return should have focused more on the story aspects, instead of trying to branch out with horror and stealth areas, which fall flat.
The initial peak of The Beast, the games big evil, doesnâ€™t set them up to feel imposing enough. You stumble on a crudely constructed bridge amid an old wartime bunker. Your character makes a little yelp as they drop an item into the depths below, an elevator clicks and lowers with a figure standing on it before cutting away. Yes, the area is dark, decrepit and foreboding but nothing about the beasts descent seems fearful. This undermines the rest of the game and feels like it strips it of that fear of the unknown.
Take Amnesia: the Darkest Descent, for example. It builds tension from the start. It grows. Slowly it grows. Amnesia doesnâ€™t show its hand too soon. Instead, it allows the player to set their mind against them and build the terror. Someday Youâ€™ll Return can throw all the dark and decrepit military bunkers it likes. They donâ€™t add much to the fear.
Itâ€™s the same with the stealth scenes when the evil creatures are hunting you, some players will only feel the frustration of getting past them holding them back. Getting killed trying to navigate your way through an areaâ€”by a creature you didnâ€™t see or have a chance to escapeâ€”becomes ever frustrating. Stealth sections donâ€™t add anything to the game. They work against the story bloating it out, stopping the player wanting to know what happened. At least, in most areas, the auto-save functionality helps you edge slowly closer to getting back to the story.
Along the way youâ€™ll also come across various puzzle sections. These offer some variety such as finding objects to assemble, getting you to the next area; trying to figure out codes for doors on mini-quests, or looking at items in surrounding areas; and trying to find the right route by levitating parts of the scenery. These are all akin to escape room puzzles. Theyâ€™re not too hard, but do give you that sense of achievement when you figure them out.
Many parts can turn you off Someday Youâ€™ll Return. Awkward cuts in gameplay, annoying stealth areas and horror that doesnâ€™t quite scare you enough. Others will draw you in. The story feels like it has something to offer and starts to grip you; however, it leaves you with questions. Questions a second playthrough may reveal, but without the drive to want to find out.
Should you play it? no
Whyâ€¦ The games pay off isn’t worth the time you put into it, as it leaves you with unanswered questions
Butâ€¦ when it is pushing the story along, in the latter parts of the game, it’s engaging and makes you want to know more
Key kindly provided via Evolve PR