Apocalipsis: Harry at the End of the World from Punch Punk Games
Apocalipsis: Harry at the End of the World is a point-and-click adventure teeming with one-shot puzzles and metaphor-infused settings. Featuring an aesthetic inspired by 15th century styles and an abstract narrative evoking – amongst other sources – Dante’s Divine Comedy, Apocalipsis presents a dark, foreboding world represented in a series of puzzles, some of which have meaningful themes of their own.
Apocalipsis tells the story of Harry, his quest to find his lost love and his journey into surreal and bleak lands to find her. Beyond this premise, the story hops through bite-sized sections each representing their own themes, from the ravages of war to the pathway into death. Harry’s journey is a descent from the grim, war-torn world of the living to an empty and desolate realm beyond.
Slowly Wading through the Abyss
I found the puzzles themselves to vary from simple to tricky but none of them seemed to be designed to stump players; Apocalipsis strives to balance challenge and the need to avoid frustration. By contrast, the actual pace of the game sometimes feels ponderous; waiting for Harry to plod over to collect an item needed for the next part of the puzzle when you already know the next three steps he needs to complete can be tedious, especially in the earlier parts of the game where there is less atmosphere to soak up.
As I delved deeper into Apocalipsis, I found that the more demanding puzzles took my attention away from the slow pace of the game. The environments also became far more dramatic and mysterious, otherworldly locales that were enjoyable to explore rather than the dreary backdrops of a run-down city that populated the earliest parts of the game.
The aforementioned 15th century art style serves to back up the bleak atmosphere present throughout Apocalipsis. Initially I found this aesthetic mundane and depressing but it grows more appealing as the surreal nature of the game’s world becomes apparent. The music undergoes a similar transformation from drab to unearthly, and it does well in crafting a somber tone, although it could have escalated more dramatically in the final acts of the game.
Altogether, Apocalipsis is an enjoyable puzzler with a unique style and, at times, it marries its puzzles with it themes nicely. The game could have done with being a bit more challenging towards the latter half, but as it stands the difficulty ensures that no one will be driven away by frustration.
Not Eternal Torment
Finally, the length feels a little on the short side, but those concerned with value will be happy to know that this is more than compensated for by the humble pricing of the game. The picture all of these observations paint is of a good game that could have been even better if pushed a little further in various areas: a little more challenge, a story with perhaps a bit more build up towards the climax, and music that strives to go beyond ambiance in key moments could have enhanced Apocalipsis considerably.
Nonetheless this is a fun and visually unusual puzzler that offers a couple hours of light conundrums to solve in a world that is oddly compelling in its grim surrealism.
Apocalipsis: Harry at the End of the World is available via Steam.
Watch the official Apocalipsis: Harry at the End of the World trailer below: