When a game focuses its attention on a cold and sterile environment, it’s simple to create an eerie atmosphere. Soviet Russia is normally the go-to location thanks to its vast wilderness and haunting beauty. Furthermore, its secretive ways have created the perfect blend of intrigue and distrust. 35MM has captured this in its dank and unusual gameplay.
Developed by Sergey Noskov and published by Sometimes You, this is an adventure title. However, it’s also part walking simulator, puzzle, shooter, and horror game! Now, this may sound like an eclectic blend, but somehow, the developer got the mix just right. The haunting world flits from one genre to another, and this leaves you on edge throughout.
I covered In Rays of The Light in March 21, but this Noskov title is a different beast. There are distinct similarities between the games, but 35MM is much more intense. Its desire to mix up the gameplay makes it unpredictable, and this was something his previous work was missing.
35MM is cold and sterile.
The setting and plot in 35MM are as clichéd as they come. A post-apocalyptic world is decimated by a life-ending event. Two travellers must work together to traverse Soviet Russia to find a new home. Subsequently, they must pass through woods, towns, cities, and a secret underground location. En route, they discover the remains of people’s lives, scour for resources, and attempt to survive.
On paper, at least, this could be the setting for a combination of games. However, its unpredictability is what makes it different. The action opens with a slow and arduous walking simulator experience. This time-consuming section was probably the weakest element within the story, but it still worked. It allowed you to take in the surrounding environment with no pressure of puzzles, horror, or the need to shoot anyone.
35MM quickly ups the ante from its tepid pace when a bear decides to attack. The gut-wrenching escape sequence makes you realise that there is more to this than meets the eye. Once the dust settles on the grizzly encounter, the rest of the key mechanics come into play. Most of the action demands that you explore your surroundings to find specific items. Sadly, however, the repetitive “fetch” quests are a little underwhelming.
Luckily, though, they are a means to an end. Consequently, the result of collecting each item leads to a game-changing moment. Whether it was the introduction of the shooting mechanic, controlling a petrol-powered train, or more, you never know what will happen. Though you may not know what awaits you, there are core principles that never change. The developer wants you to experience the vast beauty of this eerie yet grey world. Therefore, every area is oddly striking. Furthermore, Sergey Noskov added a human touch with each note and radio you discover. This small element adds warmth to an otherwise chilling title.
35MM depicts a damming future.
Russia’s distinct architecture isn’t entirely welcoming. Subsequently, it makes the perfect backdrop for a post-apocalyptic world. The developer enhances the creepy vibes thanks to a suspenseful day/night cycle. Moreover, the use of icy fog and a first-person perspective makes the world extremely claustrophobic. I adored exploring each unique location, though I found every area to be too restrictive. Disappointingly, an invisible wall breaks the immersion, and this undermines the gameplay. It would have been better to indicate the area of play with impassable trees or fallen buildings. Sadly, the decision to stop you from exploring your surroundings was dated and extremely poor.
On the other hand, the audio is executed perfectly. The atmospheric music adds drama and depth to the otherwise quiet and still moments. Moreover, the crisp sound of footsteps breaking snow or the echo of shoes on metal were great to hear. I loved most of the audio except for the poor Russian to English translation. The developers wisely kept to Russian for the narration, however, the translation was poor. Therefore, it wasn’t always easy to understand the plot or the emotion that was being conveyed.
With such an eclectic blend of genres, something had to give. Sadly, the controls were the weak link in this interesting title. 35MM, unfortunately, lacks finesse and accuracy. Maybe this problem would disappear if a mouse and keyboard were used. But, on console, the controls are distinctly underwhelming. However, everything is perfectly serviceable, if not a little disappointing.
What isn’t a letdown, however, is the longevity and replay value. With around 5 hours of action and multiple endings, there is plenty to see and do. The generic good and bad finales are influenced by your decisions and the collectables you find. This was a fascinating addition to the gameplay that demands a thorough search of every location.
35MM is unusual but interesting.
The opening moments undersell this unusual but interesting title. If you are a gamer, that’s easily put off, I implore that you stick with it. The bizarre combination of genres works alongside the bleak environment you explore. Though you have a companion throughout, the world always feels lonely and empty, and this was great. 35MM won’t be for everyone, but if you like a small indie title, then this is worth the gamble. I liked it and I recommend you to buy it here! Explore the grisly post-apocalyptic world and enjoy the eclectic blend of genres you’ll experience.