Beautiful Desolation Quick Hit Review

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Initially, I heard about Beautiful Desolation from members of my gaming guild. The guildmates who had seen the game’s page on Steam thought it looked reminiscent of Bethseda‘s late 90’s classic 2D isometric Fallout series, and rightfully so. Good or bad it was with this in mind that I approached jumping into Beautiful Desolation. For some reason, while being a good game, it just didn’t satisfy my Fallout “thrill”. Perhaps too high of expectations but with the limited time spent on it, for some reason, I only felt “desolation” after my play sessions.

Beautiful(?) Post-Apocalyptic Scenery

Typical View

This is the perspective you’ll see for most of the game.

Beautiful Desolation is a 2D isometric adventure game based in a post-apocalyptic world, so on the surface much like the original Fallout. Given that introduction, it’s hard not to make comparisons. Developers, and self-publishers, The Brotherhood are no strangers to developing this type of isometric, adventure game. Several of Beautiful Desolation‘s predecessors followed a similar formula, e.g. their free game Cayne and Statis, though I’ve not played either.

Interesting And Bizarre Characters You Shall Meet

Mina

You’ll meet bizarre characters like this lovely mistress.

Beautiful Desolation is a point & click to move game and is technically great. It has impressive graphics and some wonderful quirky non-player characters (NPCs) that are all supported by unique and well developed spoken lines. When you meet an NPC you’re shown a video monitor, conversational mode where you’re given several dialogue choices. Your dialogue choices, which are also voice supported, can alter some of the story and gameplay.

P.O.O.C.H.

Your faithful companion

From a story perspective, you are locked in to play through the game as Mark a man who is initially searching for his lost brother Don. There is no character customization here like an RPG might have, which is typical of an adventure game. This all happens in a future where humans are ruled by highly advanced technologies which are both “revered and reviled”. It’s this landscape that leads to meeting some rather bizarre, almost Blade Runner like characters. NPCs are unique graphically as well as vocally. A prime example is the mechanical, companion dog, P.O.O.C.H., that talks with a female voice.

Hits Plenty Of Marks

Personal Assistant

This is how to access maps, conversations, etc.

Beautiful Desolation hits plenty of the post-apocalyptic, adventure game targets. There’s the beautiful sketch-pad note renderings and the personal assistant “Pipboy” reminiscent PDA. Through the PDA you’ll be able to access maps, past NPC conversations, etc. There are puzzles to solve, not the Myst-like ones, more like “find this” and “combine this” types. We’ve already mentioned it has plenty of interesting characters and a good story. Unfortunately, there are no skill points earned to be distributed to flesh out your character. So what went wrong for me?

Why Did It Fail To Hold?

Beautiful Notes

The “bubble” was burst when it came down to all the aimless running around and backtracking one seems to need to do. The game does a good job of telling you what the next objective is. Unfortunately, it lacks in giving enough clues about how to get there. Some might call this “challenging” but others will find it a bit frustrating. Especially when it comes down to mindless clicking on objects or looking for the next glowing point of interest. Given the dystopian storyline and unique futuristic machine and robot part names you’ll hear about makes it all the more confusing at times. It becomes an even bigger issue if you’re away from the game for a while as there is no quest log. All you have at this point is your logged conversations to go on.

Typical Puzzle

One such add this thing-a-ma-jig here puzzle

Perhaps I went in expecting too much Fallout and maybe should have veered away from such comparisons. Beautiful Desolation is a solid adventure game with many bright moments, it just needs some fine-tuning in questing mechanics to make it an excellent title.

Beautiful Desolation is out now on Steam PC by developers The Brotherhood for $19.99 (standard edition) or $26.98 for the deluxe edition.

Written by
Scott is a comic book, music and gaming nerd since the late 70s. Gaming all began on the Colecovision and Atari 2600. He buys and reads new comics every Wednesday from his LCBS and helps run an online Heavy Metal radio station.

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