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 (363 reviews) - 60% of the 363 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Sep 20, 2013

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“Quite absorbing, very atmospheric, interesting puzzles.”
4/5 –

“...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 –

“I've rarely played an adventure with such an oppressive atmosphere.”
80% –

Steam Greenlight

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?


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

System Requirements

    • 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
    • Storage: 700 MB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX® compatible soundcard
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Mixed (363 reviews)
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
65 of 81 people (80%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
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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30 of 36 people (83%) 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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47 of 65 people (72%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
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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16 of 18 people (89%) found this review helpful
2.6 hrs on record
Posted: April 15, 2015
A decent, enjoyable point and click with an occasionally good, creepy atmosphere. A couple books worth of mediocre quality text and some difficult puzzles do spoil the experience somewhat.
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22 of 29 people (76%) 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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18 of 22 people (82%) 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:

If you’re a fan of the genre and like creepy claustrophobic games check this out.
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40 of 62 people (65%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
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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23 of 32 people (72%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
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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11 of 12 people (92%) found this review helpful
6 people found this review funny
2.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 15, 2015
Many people say this russian masterpiece is crap, because its too cryptic.

I crypt their mothers! bunch of ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ don't want to face real challenge.

GRab your vodka, and your notebook, and sit your ♥♥♥ down for some quality, and chilling experience in the point 'n click genre, mixed with a horrifying enviorment.

Oh, did I mention notebook?

Step up comerads, this game is a real +1!
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14 of 18 people (78%) found this review helpful
7.2 hrs on record
Posted: June 28, 2014
Status: completed (effectively 100% as linear single narrative)

The completion of this game marks the beginning of a new epoch for me. I have had a bit of a magpie instinct over the last couple of years, and have bought almost every bundle and stockpiled my games. Now my library is quite big with the vast majority of games untouched. I have decided to play through all these games and write a review for each, in order to make sure I do not miss any I will be playing them in alphabetical order. I am likely to keep adding bundles and I don't know if I will ever catch up, but it's going to be a lot of fun!

So 1953 - KGB Unleashed, do I recommend it?

It's only just a yes but with a big asterisk which we will now go into.

I personally really enjoyed this game, but I can imagine that it will not be for everyone. This was a game that I wasn't particularly looking forward to when purchasing the bundle. I was expecting it to be a run of the mill great war first person shooter, but initial impressions and cynicism of the gaming industry can be deceiving! Much to my pleasant surprise. The game is actually a lot more like Myst, a modern first person point and click adventure game.

This game reminds me a lot of Myst 5 I think it was. It has the same pre rendered backdrops and the same “spherical” looking system. Your character will walk forward and stop in certain spots and you can look all around him with the mouse including up and down and a full 360 rotation. If you hold down the mouse button it rotates faster which I found myself doing a lot. It's a single click to interact with the world, move or pick things up. Right click opens your inventory which shows all the items your character is holding and gives you access to all the documents you have read.

The puzzles in this game are very strong. I enjoyed them a lot. Most of the puzzles have quite a cryptic solution, but the documents you read contain clues, and they are just the right balance, the puzzles really are some of the very best I've ever seen in an adventure game as the difficulty to satisfaction ration is spot on. This is a game that will make you think. Which I very much enjoy. There is only one puzzle that relies on trial and error which is kinda a negative however the documents make you aware of this.

So why is this game only getting a slight recommendation? Well there are a few reasons. The graphics are fit for purpose but they're not really anything that special, considering they are pre rendered too, although I don't see this as a bad thing. The game has a very eerie and oppressive nature to it, and as such there is a lot of dark rooms with low lighting which makes finding items annoying. Some rooms I had to enter and leave many many times before finding what was actually quite a big item. This is helped somewhat by a cursor that changes when it is moused over something intractable but you do feel that you are back in the old fashioned pixel hunting days. Although this may not be a bad thing, adventure games need a little bit of frustration otherwise they end up far too easy.
Also the amount of reading you have to do is likely to annoy some gamers, but that kind of gamer probably doesn't like adventure games. I am someone who likes flavour text, I read all the books I found on skyrim and I read mmo quests so this didn't phase me.

Is this game art?
The philosophy behind art is a hard one to pin down on, I used to think that if a game makes you think after you have played it then it qualifies. Something mindless and instant gratification doesn't count using this rule, but can you really say space invaders isn't art? Hmm....well this is a discussion for another time. I do think it is an arty game though! It has a very tense atmosphere and it treats you with respect with its puzzle design. The shadowy operations of the bunker and the more philosophical aspects of this game will give you pause for thought and I expect to take the memories of this game with me for quite some time as I reflect on what was quite a detailed storyline.

I can imagine the people who like this game feel the same way as me and the people who dislike it will really hate it. It was a positive experience.

6/10 Slightly above average - It's certainly worth a play if you already have it like I do.
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Recently Posted
1.6 hrs
Posted: October 20
You wake up in an underground bunker, the year is 1953. You have no information regarding how you came to be trapped within the cold, concrete walls of this abandoned Soviet project, and you have little memory of your past. Left to uncover the horrors of what occurred here, and you must find a way out. You're alone, or are you? A mysterious voice emanates from an overhead speaker; is he real, or is he in your mind?

The set up to 1953 - KGB Unleashed is promising, and it's a pretty unique concept when it comes to point and click titles. Though the game fails abysmally in every category, making it a "bottom of the barrel" pick for its genre. It also includes a lot of gameplay features that make even veteran fans of point and clicks cringe. Note that the store page says that this game is horror, but there are very little horror elements to be had; a couple of very fleeting moments could be classified as eerie at best. The title functions in a 3D manner, meaning that you can freely pan your mouse around 360 degrees rather than having a stagnant scene like a lot of point and clicks. The visuals are nice, though the bunker looks far too pristine in my opinion. The audio, music specifically, is practically non-existent save for a couple of scenarios. The on-screen inventory system is probably the least complicated feature of the entire game.

The tortuous pixel hunting and terribly ambiguous puzzles are both unforgiving, and unforgivable. Without a guide to follow, most players would likely give up on ever solving the true-to-life KGB mysteries and just resort to a search engine for further historical information. This tedious gameplay mates with excruciatingly dry written text, culminating in an experience that's best left alone entirely. There are tons of documents scattered around the scenes in this game, but many are nefariously long and textbook in quality. You would think learning about the abominable experiments conducted by KGB would be more interesting... but sadly, not in this instance.

It all ends with a very confusing, yet uninspired, scene that contradicts the rest of the game; ultimately, an ending that's not worth the hassle of reaching. If you're using a guide, 1953 - KGB Unleashed will last you anywhere from 1-2 hours. If you're not using one, well then may the gaming gods be with you. Perhaps if you enjoy a story that's as dry as the desert itself, or reading textbook-like documents, as well as clicking on literally everything in sight to find what you've missed so you can progress, then this might be the game for you. If none of that sounds fun, well then we're on the same page. Though the idea could've been phenomenal, this is one game that just fails to deliver in every way imaginable.

Rating: 1.5/5.0 - It's Bad.
Belphegore's Hell House Reviews (Group)
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Master Tactician
0.1 hrs
Posted: September 25
I could not spend very long on this game due to its totally user-unfriendly interface and pixel hunting progess. unless you are prepared to invest a lot of time trying to figure out what the hell you are supposed to do, avoid like the plague.
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1.9 hrs
Posted: September 17
I'm not a big fan of this style of game to begin with, so I have two specific criticisms, which may or may not apply to everyone. First, the settings are sorely lacking, there isn't even an option to change the resolution. Second, the game feels directionless almost from the beginning. There are several puzzles that don't seem to offer any indication as to whether they are successfully completed or not. I started to use a walkthrough very quickly to get that missing sense of direction.
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0.4 hrs
Posted: August 17
Very slow. So far it is boring and I have no desire to finish.
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4.5 hrs
Posted: August 12
I enjoyed most of my time, but the rest of it was filled with annoyance/frustration of poor game flow and lack of a simple guidance.

The game simply drops you in, and you gather knowledge of the story by reading notes scattered about. In fact, most of the clues for the "puzzles" require you to pay attention to the surroundings and decipher some things on your own, which I did like.

But as other reviewers have noted, there were many parts where it's not easily known where to go and what is needed (I had to use the guide a few times just to get over the mindless wandering, much credit to Vic=HKC= for the great guide.) Is that door unopenable or does it just need a key? This box shows it's interactable, but why? Compound this with new areas sometimes opening but there were no visible/audio clues that tell you so, other than backtracking and reviewing stuff to find out.

Personally, although you discover some grim things for the story, I didn't find the game scary/creepy/spooky or whatever at all, whether due to it's age or the fact that nothing much actually happens throughout. Plus it didn't really end on a high note.

Overall, it's a decent game if cheap. I'd say your better off with the Amnesia games instead, though.
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All Might
0.1 hrs
Posted: July 24
I do enjoy point-and-click adventures very much, but I just couldn't really get myself to enjoy this one.

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0.1 hrs
Posted: July 21
My new show the relook Where we go back and look at game's to see if they're still worth playing.
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2.9 hrs
Posted: June 29
As a Deaf gamer I cannot recommand this game. This game has no subtitles of any kind. I couldn't understand anything what's going on in the game. I had to follow the walkthrough on Youtube for the whole game. Even after I beat the game I still don't fully understand what the game all about.

If you are Deaf or want subtitles stay away from this game!

Yes I know the store page said it had no subtiles but I got this as part of Humble Bundle.
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2.2 hrs
Posted: June 14
I hate this genre in general because I'm terrible at it, but just to say I've completed the game, I've been going through it tonight. It's not a bad game I suppose, I would just never ever ever figure out these puzzles sans walkthrough, but I will say this: SAVE THE GAME REGULARLY. I was an hour in (which is like 75% completion), tabbed out to look at something, and it wouldn't tab back in, so I had to force close it and there's no autosave system of any sort so I have to start over now. It won't take long to get back to where I was, but it will take longer than it should because of all the unskippable voice scenes. EDIT: The voice scenes actually can be skipped via right-click, it seems, but only the ones coming from the loudspeaker. I completed the game in 53 minutes after the tab-out crash, blazing through the 66 minutes I had played before that. There are a ton of documents and text I didn't really care to get through, and I was expecting a jumpscare or two after reading a review that mentioned one, but it never happened, thankfully.

Anyway, overall... not bad.
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Obey the Fist!
0.2 hrs
Posted: June 4
This is a fairly well made point and click with a pseudo 3-D interface (stretched images, much like Google Street View).

The usual puzzle solving and so on keeps you occupied as you go through the story.

Unfortunately the developers didn't think people were using PCs as they wrote this game for the PC, so you can't change the resolution (or aspect ratio - so I hope you have kept an old 4:3 CRT monitor in the house if you want to play this).

Also for some odd reason they decided to invert the mouse X axis when you hold the button down, which is the complete opposite of modern UI convention, which is just annoying.

Lack of scalability and UI convention make this game sadly not enough for a recommendation.
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