Somerville is an enjoyable cinematic thrillride that players may struggle to interact with

Playdead games are the closest we’ve got to those classic Delphine Adventures in recent years.

Inside, in particular, exudes the same atmosphere, style and sense of progression as the great Flashback. So naturally, its somewhat spiritual successor takes things a step further.

Somerville comes from the mind of Dino Patti, one of the co-founders of Playdead. It’s been a passion project for years, bubbling in the background, now it’s led to Patti forming a brand new studio with the game as its centrepiece.

And what we have is a game full of questions and very few answers. A title that forces you to think on your feet and outside the box, without the slightest holding of your hand.

It releases at an interesting time, actually, with many people complaining God of War signposts too much, too quickly. Somerville enjoys watching you wandering around aimlessly, looking for objects of interest to interact with and is extremely frugal with how it hints and points things out to players. Especially since it has no dialogue whatsoever.

It’s both the game’s strength and greatest weakness. Figuring out your powers is just the beginning, understanding them is another step. And it compliments the game’s pacing as much as it frustrates with some puzzle-solving.

Points of interest can sometimes take a few button presses to actually interact with them. Some of the puzzles I stumbled upon by a fluke, not really knowing what I was supposed to be doing. And a few times the physics worked against me and felt ill-timed to the solution.

I also found myself regularly getting caught on the scenery and had to reset the checkpoint a few times because I couldn’t move or escape.

Yet it’s somewhat painted over and overshadowed by the game’s impressive big budget and epic cinematic setpieces. From the word go, the game draws you in with explosive live-action, chase sequences, suspense, and mystery surrounding one man’s journey to find his family.

Somerville’s use of movement through the scenery is like some kind of wizardry. Despite the game being a side-scroller, it makes the world feel alive and accessible. Sometimes you need to open up pathways behind you as well as in front of you and it makes each scene all the more interesting as you’re never quite sure which way you need to go to move forward or if you’re ever really done with the space you’re in.

Similarly, though this does mean some of the camera angles do get in your way, though this can also work as a powerful atmospheric effect to show you’re within a deep forest or skirting alongside a broken building.

Somerville is a short, sharp game that flies by at a breakneck pace. It tells its story incredibly well without a word spoken, and delivers a memorable experience you’ll reflect on for a long time to come, despite the shortcomings.


Somerville isn’t perfect and does struggle to get some things right with its physics, puzzles, and interaction, but this is still one of the best-paced games I’ve played this year, with a story to match. With stunning visual effects, Somerville just oozes atmosphere and stands among the most interesting, engaging sci-fi epics in recent memory. 


+ Atmospheric, engaging sci-fi world that stuns and dazzles
+ Well paced narrative that keeps you guessing and thinking
+ Powerful direction with beautiful cinematography and style


– Some interaction points are hard to clasp onto or engage with
– Regular sticking on environment and physics issues

Somerville is out now on PC and Xbox Game Pass

Played on PC

Code Kindly Provided by Jumpship

About the author

Brad Baker

Brad is an absolute horror buff and adores the new take on I.T. He also fancies himself as a bit of a Battle Royale master but never when anyone's watching.
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