Developed by Phantomery Interactive, 1953 – KGB Unleashed is a tense and atmospheric First Person Adventure set deep within the bowels of a Soviet bunker during the Cold War. Players must uncover the dark and horrifc secrets buried within, fighting their own paranoia along the way as well as the possibility of all-too-real terrors within...
User reviews: Mixed (296 reviews)
Release Date: Sep 20, 2013
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Reviews

“Quite absorbing, very atmospheric, interesting puzzles.”
4/5 – http://www.bigredbarrel.com/blog/2012/07/review-1953-kgb-unleashed/

“...definitely recommended to anyone that enjoys Point and Click Adventure games and anyone that's looking for a new atmospheric game to play.”
8/10 – http://calmdowntom.com/2012/07/1953-kgb-unleashed-review/

“I've rarely played an adventure with such an oppressive atmosphere.”
80% – http://www.nextgengamers.net/index.php/tests/845-1953-im-netz-des-kgb

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About This Game

Developed by Phantomery Interactive, 1953 – KGB Unleashed is a tense and atmospheric First Person Adventure set deep within the bowels of a Soviet bunker during the Cold War. Players must uncover the dark and horrifc secrets buried within, fighting their own paranoia along the way as well as the possibility of all-too-real terrors within the bunker. Are the voices emanating from all around you real, or just an hallucination resulting from your isolation? Will you manage to escape into the warm embrace of daylight, or will you be trapped within the foreboding menace of the bunker?

Only in 1953 – KGB Unleashed can the answers be found!

“1953 – KGB Unleashed” is based on real projects conducted by the Ministry of State Security of the USSR (the former KGB). During that time they pushed the limits of human endurance, testing for the possibility of telepathy, as well as researching the psychological impact of fear on the human brain. The photo-realistic visual style of “1953 – KGB Unleashed” recreates the USSR of the fifties: the underground shelter’s interior is constructed using real Soviet military plans, and the materials found there are based on historically valid documents.

Explore a hidden laboratory where such experiments were conducted in order to learn the truth behind the terrifying events that led to the closure of the project and the liquidation of its staff. An atmosphere of isolation and suspense pervades throughout, bringing you face to face with your own fears, while the voice of invisible “observer” broadcasts over the internal communications system. Is this observer a friend, or an enemy? Your exploration of this perfectly-preserved complex may uncover what these experiments unlocked deep within the human psyche — but will you survive these revelations intact?

Features

  • Secret underground areas with special KGB objects
  • Staggering puzzles and many challenging mind game
  • Realistically created 1950’s atmosphere

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows: XP / Vista / 7 / 8
    • Processor: 2,0 Ghz - Pentium® or AMD®
    • Memory: 1024 MB RAM
    • Graphics: Geforce® 6800 / ATI® X1650 (min. MB 256 VRAM)
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Hard Drive: 700 MB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX® compatible soundcard
Helpful customer reviews
10 of 11 people (91%) found this review helpful
3.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 16, 2014
This is a fun point and click game that creates really amazing atmosphere and knows how to show its story rather than bluntly shove it in the players face.

I can't understand all the negative reviews for this game, it is overpriced (get it in a bundle or on sale), its short and it is def very frustrating at times (use a walkthrough) but it is fun and creates amazing atmosphere; it lets you inspect and read all kinds of things that explain the setting and flesh out the story, and let you interact with cool things (the radio was my favorite), the music and sound effects build the mood of confusion and isolation, and the graphics are really good. The controls are what you'd expect, you can do everything with the mouse and the game lets you know when you can pick up or interact with something - so no pixel hunting. And speaking of walkthroughs, they should have included one like they did on the disc but you can translate this one: http://www.adventurespel.nl/walk/1953kgb.htm

If you’re a fan of the genre and like creepy claustrophobic games check this out.
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14 of 19 people (74%) found this review helpful
3.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 13, 2014
I'm a fan of Point and Clicks, I'm a fan of crazy Russian stuff, I'm also a fan of The X-Files. You'd think KGB 1953 would be really fun to play with all those things considered, but it strangely wasn't. It was actually pretty frustrating.

I'm left wondering just where the story started and at what point it ends. There are plenty of documents and files to read as you progress through the game to flesh out the situation and provide hints and clues to puzzles (and why you're in the bunker) but you never really get any resolve. It's just one big 'what' moment.

One big 'what' moment dotted with lots of smaller 'what' moments in the form of some of the most mind numbingly frantically click and hope puzzles I've experienced in a point and click. Some of them are pretty clever, while the majority rely on you being able to distinguish collectible items from the backgrounds they're hiding in. So you'll find most of time just clicking and hoping and wondering where the logic/reason was behind the solution.

In the end KGB 1953 is a game that should only be experienced by people who want to experience just how odd this game is. Point and click fans might be disappointed by it, and those new to the genre should avoid this completely.
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
5.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 28, 2014
This is a classic style point and click adventure game. I mean it is just like the old ones that used to be popular in the '90's, right down to a fixed aspect ratio of 4:3, and no High Resolution support, which is pretty inexcusable for a PC game that came out in 2012 (2013 US). It is also very short, easily able to be completed within 4-5 hours. It does feature some interesting atmosphere and story, dealing with a sealed and evacuated KGB bunker, many notes you find providing background, furnishings and propaganda posters you find are evocative of the 1950's. The story ultimately revolves around human experimentation, and features a twist near the end, along with a manufactured and unsatisfying ending that doesn't really come off as believable. The game also suffers from the kind of problem many adventure games have had since the original Myst, namely to advance, sometimes you have to do exactly what the game designers had in mind, using the precise tool on a specific piece of equipment, at the specific time the progression allows it, and not before. More than once I couldn't figure out why perfectly logical combinations didn't work, because only one specific one out of the multiple ones that would have worked was programmed to. Also at least one puzzle I couldn't solve because I was apparently trying to solve too early, the event refusing to work until I ran down other, incorrect leads. All in all, the game has zero replay value, and I would say it is worth playing through once, but only if it can be bought for very cheap, like say less than five dollars.
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9 of 15 people (60%) found this review helpful
3.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 10, 2014
I’ll be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of point-and-click games, but I do enjoy them on occasion. In KGB Unleashed it’s the usual journey of solving various puzzles and figuring out the meaning of various objects in each room. This game features more of the latter rather than the former. More often than not, I struggled to progress due to the obscurity of some elements, and despite the fact that I agree with the logic of each puzzle and the idea behind it, I believe it could have been far better designed. Many elements were misleading, or failed to emphasise the reason for its use. There are several examples I could give, one of which was a simple switch in a safe which gave no indication of what it did, yet it unlocked a door in another corridor that I did not realise until I had backtracked through most of the game to try and discover its purpose. In another part of the game, you have to descend a trap hole and there is a crate in the hole. Your cursor highlights to indicate there is something you need to do with the crate, but while I spent almost 10 minutes trying to open it, turns out it was actually where you had to put the tape recorder. Confusion like this could have been easily avoided by making the object anything other than a crate; a crate I had to break open not two rooms before.

I almost quit outright in frustration upon the first 10 minutes of starting the game. I don’t know if it was just my settings, but the initial two rooms are dark, so you have to strain your eyes to hardly see anything and the incessant alarm tone became annoying and headache inducing very quickly, beating the puzzles to the punch. The game significantly lacks any Russian undertones, with the main character voiced with an English accent. Aside from some radio stations and a few scraps of propaganda, the game could be set in the USA or England and you wouldn’t notice any difference.

The ending became downright bizarre, ending very abruptly with little resolution. In the last area, you find a glass (hopefully) eyeball which you roll under a door. You can then look through the eyeball as if by magic and somehow that opens the door. Now here is a big spoiler for you, but the game stops, tells you that guy who has been talking to you is dead and then shoos you out the exit. The exit, by the way, is a subway tunnel that somehow goes directly into a bathroom and the wall just disappears after you pick up a subway token. It almost seems as though the developers gave up at this point, or just didn’t know how to end the game. It was an abrupt and confusing ending that severely jarred the experience.

Aside from me failing at puzzles, the game also failed on technical levels in many places. It’s very slow to load, which is very unusual for my high-end PC. It could take as long as ten seconds to load one room, yet I can load Fallout New Vegas with 50+ mods faster. It only had to do this once per room though, which reduced the annoyance, but it’s still unusual for a game of this era. I also had trouble with sluggish cutscenes that left me locked in the cutscene long after the dialouge ceased. There was also no option for subtitles, which was a bit problem for me when there was poor audio quality dialogue and I couldn’t understand what was said, making me miss what may have been important plot points.

The game looked decent, and the mood was set as it should have been, but it felt empty and void of any character. With constant backtracking to and from rooms, I tired from walking the same slow corridors over and over. It became a grind and that’s no fun at all.

An engine that just isn’t up to scratch, inconsistent gameplay and design ruined this game, which showed great potential. Some may enjoy the puzzles, I know some people who will get more satisfaction from games such as these than I do, but the price, the length of only a mere 2 or 3 hours coupled with all the letdowns made KGB Unleashed a great disappointment.

And where was all the Vodka? You can't have Russians without Vodka!
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
3.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 1, 2014
To be honest, I'm not a fan of pont and click (short: p&c) games, even if I played through of some, like Midnight Nowhere, Atlantis 2 or The Longest Journey. Either had their good points, mostly they had a story, atmosphere or visual. Now KGB Unleashed has these.

The visuals are really fine, somewhat photorealistic. The lights and shadows are making the atmosphere creepier, which is a good start from the base of the story. Who haven't heard about the brutality of KGB? Or their interest in paranormality and the borders after ethics in science? Well, the story isn't the strongest part of the game, and could handle more (in fact much more) about this stuff. And thus, it's making a short game, easily played through not even in 3 hours, But hey, the atmosphere makes it up. The puzzles aren't in the game: they are in your head, when you are trying putting together what has happened in that facility and the test subjects...

So basicaly, it's a good detective game, making you to think about and putting together the pieces. Never expect he would do it instead of you.
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
1.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 11, 2014
A short point and click game with a creepy atmosphere and story. Not really a fan of point and clicks, but still enjoyed it. if youre not following a guide youll be clicking around/looking until you find something you can interact with in this particular game, objects dont really stand or jump out, but the cursor lights up if anything is interactable.
About an hour to 3 of gameplay here.
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4 of 6 people (67%) found this review helpful
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: September 15, 2014
If you like super old school, "nintendo hard" difficulty point and click puzzle games, this is the game for you. Unfortunately, I prefer my point and click games to gradually ramp up the difficulty as I progress.

Good points, based on my very short playtime:

  • interesting premise and plot line
  • good graphics

Negatives:
  • everything is intuitive. The game doesn't help you at all, including not telling you that you have an inventory and how to access it
  • puzzles start off difficult and don't get any easier

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4 of 6 people (67%) found this review helpful
3.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 24, 2014
1953 - KGB Unleashed - This is the perfect example of a game with so much potential but is ultimately ruined due-to really poor execution. While this game has a deep atmosphere, a dark and intriguing back-story and somewhat realistic graphics, it is all downhill after the first room.

The basics are summed up on the store page so we don't need to go into those little details. The game itself is a Point-&-Click puzzle game, a genre that certainly isn't for everybody but can be very enjoyable if done correctly (see Monkey Island for example), 1953 - KGB Unleashed is not one of those games.
For starters, the interface and menu style feel really amateur when compared to the rest of the games art style. The puzzles that are presented to you almost instantly are either extremely difficult or make little to no sense, the examples I'm about to give may spoil the game for anybody interested in trying it out so read on at your own risk.

One or two of the tasks you have to overcome are relatively easy, such as the voltage puzzle in the first room (even though this involves the dreaded pixel-hunting at first) and there is another puzzle a little bit further in where you have to repair a cable, these are examples of the easier puzzles, and then there are those that make absolutely no sense such as tuning a radio very specifically to open a hidden passage... yes... seriously... these are the instances I'm talking about that make absolutely no sense.
You get vague instructions and hints from picking up documents and reading notices as you go through the game, plus you have to look very carefully at everything you come across to get hints and pay close attention to the little details of the rooms you are in to acquire certain objects that are important, or again, pixel-hunting, these aspects are interesting but equally annoying. If it wasn't for an online walkthrough I stumbled across, I don't think I could have ever figured out that the radio tuning opened the secret passage. There is also a part where you have to place a certain object in a certain room atop a certain crate, something that you could only figure out purely by chance / trial and error.

Finally, the game is short, very short, the hours of play people build up are purley based on the amount of time it takes you to figure out some of the absurd and extremely difficult puzzles, once you are all clued up and give it another play through, it can be completed in no less than 20 minutes.

So that's about it for this game I'm afraid. I don't like giving games negative reviews, really, but all good aspects of this game are hugely overshadowed by all of it's negatives. This could have been something much more, it's a shame. I would say buy it in a sale or a cheap bundle (like I did) if you're still interested in trying it, but it is highly likely that you'll have to consult a walkthrough more than once.
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6 of 10 people (60%) found this review helpful
2.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 31, 2014
Creepy atmosphere. For a point and click game, it is very short. I recommend this if its on sale.
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6 of 10 people (60%) found this review helpful
1.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 25, 2014
Initially released as a promo for a Russian horror film, this myst clone suffers from a horribly dated engine and irrational puzzles
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14 of 26 people (54%) found this review helpful
0.7 hrs on record
Posted: September 7, 2014
Russian point and click simulator.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 27, 2014
This game is just straight-up, plain out, frustrating. I mean, you kind of have to respect the visuals and the sounds, but the gameplay is just frustrating. That's just it.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
4.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 8, 2014
"1953 - KGB Unleashed" is one of those games that could have been great, but sadly is not. As a point-and-click adventure game, it does create a nice atmosphere. Some of the puzzles did not seem logical to me, so I had to consult outside help (a.k.a. YouTube) to get past them. The voice acting is a bit weak. I expect there was little to no direct given to the actors to let them know the context in which each line would be used in the game. I also had a difficult time understanding one of the voice actors because he was speaking so softly. Curiously, none of the voices have a Russian accent. I noticed several typographical errors in written documents. Given that the game was most likely originally written in Russian and later translated to English, I can understand these mistakes can happen. None of the typos affects the ability to enjoy and play the game, though. The ending is rather abrupt and seems to have been quickly added to complete the game as though finances had ended. Strangely, the ending does not answer any of the questions and seems more like the ending to the film "Raising Arizona" than a game titled "1953 - KGB Unleashed".

All told, I cannot recommend the game at the current price $9.99. I can, however, fully recommend the game if it is on sale or part of a bundle. It is unfortunate that Steam does not have a "Mixed" option for the "Do you recommend this game?" question.


Following is a list of tips that may help you get more enjoyment from the game. Those that do not want help, should skip this section.

1. This is not a hidden object game, so do not try to play that way.
2. The mouse cursor will change when it is over something with which you can interact.
3. If the mouse cursor indicates you can interact with something, but clicking on it does nothing, maybe you need to use something from your inventory.
4. The beginning of the game is very dark and I could see very little. After increasing the brightness setting quite a bit in the game's settings, I was able to proceed with the game.
5. You will need to do some backtracking, but not an excessive amount.
6. Read all of the documents. Not only do they provide a great deal of the post-WWII Russian atmosphere, they also provide clues.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
3.2 hrs on record
Posted: September 6, 2014
Only get this game if it comes in a bundle! It's very short, you can complete the game in about 3 hours and the puzzles make no sense whatsoever. On a positive note it does have an interesting story and is also atmospheric throughout.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: December 7, 2014
Got this game for free which is why I'm not going to complain as much, but still wtf this game is awful. I'm not going to want to play a game where I have to read all these books and be an actual electrician. I couldn't even get past the first room. Funny thing is I tried to cheat by looking up a walkthrough on youtube and the walkthrough person doesn't even know how to get through this crap game. Anyways 1/5000 would play again. Wish I could delete the game from my library.
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50 of 63 people (79%) found this review helpful
2.3 hrs on record
Posted: February 12, 2014
I’m treading the line with this one. Is 1953 a terrible game? No it does have some redeeming features. But it has some little problems punctuated by one MASSIVE issue and I’m left thinking I should dissuade you from making the purchase.

There are plenty of adventure games, many right here on Steam, that deserve your attention more. Even when you narrow it down to the “horror”-niche of point-and-click adventure gaming there are other games like Scratches and Dark Falls (or hell, even Amnesia and Penumbra to an extent as long as you are willing to toss the point-and-click out) that are infinitely more enjoyable. But, if you’ve exhausted your options then this game might be worth your time, it’s the bottom of the barrel but it does manage to do a couple things right.

Its greatest sin is committing the point-and-click taboo: pixel hunting. That line is probably enough to send plenty of adventure veterans running for the hills. Pixel hunting is perhaps the biggest factor separating a good game from a sub-par or downright bad one. A good game cleverly takes your eyes to certain things while still being subtle, a bad one requires you to find the exact hit-box on the screen the developers arbitrarily decided to make a key point. Often with little or no sign that you need to interact with that area. And even once you do find it if you haven’t already collected the necessary shiny mcguffin (more pixel hunting) needed to interact with that area, then god help you.

1953 starts off down this road instantly when I found myself trapped for about 20-minutes in the first two rooms. Eventually I found a floor panel that you have to pull up. The issue is not only was the panel in complete darkness, with little to suggest anything of note, but the hit-box for selecting it was painfully small. A rather simple puzzle was thus rendered an exercise in frustration based not on my ability to understand what needed to be done, but on the games inability to show me where I needed to go. You don’t need to shepherd your player like a 2-year-old and force their hand, but you do need to give some sort of indication that an area might be important. Rather than expecting me to find the one tiny pixel in an un-notable black floor that forwards the plot.

Things open up a bit from there and you get to do a little exploration. But you still find a lot of this happening where you missed that one container from 30-minutes ago. And so now you have to revisit every room and scan it in slow-motion as not to miss the cue that you’re over something important.

After that little rant you’d think I’d be hard pressed to say anything good, and don’t get me wrong this is a huge negative that detracts from the enjoyment considerably. But as I said it does some good things.

The atmosphere is oppressive and though it’s never frightening it does manage to make you uneasy, despite knowing nothing would happen I still found myself nervous in dark areas. The story (as far as I’ve got) is decent, it’s pretty rote and predictable, but it’s done with enough care that you at least feel invested. Though your surroundings are bland, gun-gray concrete rooms and other traditional industrial clichés they’re all rendered carefully. Machinery is caked in grime, walls have been carefully rendered to have unique pitting instead of repeat textures, and various odds and ends lying about give the impression that the area was lived in at one point. This is backed up by some excellent sound design that throws all sorts of eerie clanks, hums, and hisses at you. Additionally the game occasionally hits a stride where you don’t run into too much of the dreaded pixel hunting and for those brief periods is quite enjoyable.

I will mention that most of the puzzles so far have been rather easy, but I also haven’t reached the end-game. So far the challenge has been less about solving the puzzles, and more about finding the necessary items to get the puzzle moving.

And in the end that’s what’s running me off. I may never finish 1953 because while I love what they’re trying to do here, every time the atmosphere and story try to soak me in that’s all shot out the window the moment I then have to comb my surroundings with a hawk-eye for 30-minutes to proceed. I want to like the game, it got so much right but when you solve a problem in an adventure game you’re supposed to feel gratified. Part of adventure games is your own wit, but the other part is the cunning developers making you THINK it’s your own wit. Crafting things in such a way as to mentally test you, but not to the point of frustration. And that’s the issue, when I finally solve a problem in 1953 I don’t feel like I’d accomplished anything, I just felt grateful I finally stumbled across the latest key item and can get this over with.

And that’s a death sentence for an adventure game, at least for me.
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47 of 65 people (72%) found this review helpful
3.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 25, 2013
At first glance you might be mistaken to believe this is an RPG or Shooter with the subject matter. However what we have here is a typical point and click adventure game. Its short clocking in at about 1-3 hours to complete, which is nice as a mini game or proof of concept but not really a full game. At least in the short time that KGB is with you its fun. It has decent puzzles with straight foward elements that will be solved easily by adventure vets. The story is a decent one until the last 80% when it goes off the rails in a roswell aliens sort of way. I really think a more serious attempt at a plot and about 3x the length would have made this a classic. There is so much history and cool themes they COULD have used with this story yet for some reason they decided to go silly. Its poor ending and microsopic length hold back what could have been a very deep and rich adventure game. My score = 68/100 Poor to fair
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26 of 31 people (84%) found this review helpful
2.4 hrs on record
Posted: February 21, 2014
Puzzles are not my favorite type of game, but this game has such a great dark and mysterious atmosphere that i really enjoyed every single one i got through. Game is short (2-3 hours), obviously not worth the full price, but if you get it in a bundle you'll wont regret it.
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39 of 59 people (66%) found this review helpful
4.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 30, 2013
1953 - KGB Unleashed is a point-and-click adventure that tries to be suspenseful and scary, but the execution comes off weak. I'm still a little confused with the story, especially the ending. I also had a difficult time figuring out several of the puzzles. Many of the clues were overly cryptic. The game is quite short and most of the play time will be spent figuring out these cryptic puzzles and reading random documents. For me, the atmospheric music was the highlight of the game--setting a very eerie mood.

Although it wasn't a bad game, I really can't say it's something I enjoyed.

"Live your life so that people remember you with a kind word." Sound advice, but if you can figure out how this fits into what I played, let me know.
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21 of 27 people (78%) found this review helpful
5.6 hrs on record
Posted: March 10, 2014
Since adventure games are my favorite genre, I was looking forward to playing this game as it looked really interesting when I first saw it. The game is set in a WW2 Soviet bunker or some kind of an underground facility where the player finds himself trapped in. He knows nothing about how he got there, but we learn throughout the game more and more about him and the world around us. The game is played in first person view.

The best thing about this game is the atmosphere, at times I'll admit I had a chill feeling going down my spine, yet there is no real threat in this game. Extremely well done on that part, and the gameplay is what you'd expect of this kind of game. All the puzzles make sense and you have to find clues in the environment to solve them and are never out of context.
The game itself is not very long 4-5 hours to finish and it kind of ends leaving you wanting for more, at least that's how I felt. Too bad, because a proper ending would add more to the overall score.

So, to sum everything up:

+ great atmosphere
+ interesting puzzles
+ good story

- but ends abruptly
- short

I recommend it to all adventure fans looking for a nice, atmospheric game to activate their grey matter. 7 / 10
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