Contempt looks like Giger, but could act like the Witness

Contempt looks like Giger, but could act like the Witness

Contempt feels like it’s teetering on the grime-covered edge between “disturbingly intriguing” and “willfully grotesque.” Within an hour or so of playing the game – its opening section complete with no tutorials – I was introduced to a truly unpleasant biotech setting, where it was shown how many opaque puzzles would link together to form orderly story chains wordless and easy. repelled by her sometimes pushing beyond his Giger-indebted landscape and into less impressive straight body horror.

The core of Scorn is in its puzzles. It may play from the perspective of an FPS and occasionally give you what look like weapons, but this is a brain game at its core. Opening with your mysterious main character literally tearing himself out of his seemingly living landscape, Scorn offers no on-screen cues as to what to do or how anything works, leaving you to trudge through the gently undulating corridors of its world, tucking and sometimes your hands are horrible. cars just to see what happens.

To Scorn’s credit, this self-directed approach works well. You’re quickly given (well, violently implanted) equipment that allows you to manipulate the biotech machinery, leaving you to try to figure out what the hell anything is. The player is then drawn to a single puzzle – unlock this large door – which you slowly realize is actually made up of several smaller puzzles that need to be linked together.

They range from the oddly familiar (a puzzle about retrieving a giant, disgusting egg from a wall is actually a simple sliding puzzle disguised) to downright bizarre (one section had me using what appeared to be a slaughterhouse bolt gun to destroy floating steam-spewing machines in an effort to… feed a huge column?). It’s a very elegant way of tying the gameplay into the world and vice versa – and the mix of hands-free design and deeply unfamiliar locations makes it a gratifying challenge to solve.

Scorn’s story is intentionally left as bare as its puzzle solutions—I imagine interpreting this world will require as much mental effort as playing—but it’s clear that we’re in a horrible location that has became even more terrifying. . For the most part, it’s fascinatingly unique as far as games go, a worthy ode to Cronenberg, Giger, maybe even Junji Ito.

On one occasion, however, I felt it was leaning closer to something like Agony; adopting a more cheerful, voyeuristic unpleasantness. Without giving too much away about the solution, the basic puzzle in this opening area centers around using an almost fetus-like person as a means of escape. Your mileage may vary, but having to mutilate them repeatedly—watching them squirm, scream, and wordlessly beg you to stop—felt less of an intrigue and more of a challenge. It backfired, but not in the way I expected from what otherwise seems like an exercise in quiet, creeping horror.

I’ll be very interested to see how much this more overt bleakness becomes a part of the wider game, not least because it completely changes the mood set by its other puzzles. At its best, Scorn already feels like a deeply weird, deeply thoughtful approach to more overt entanglement, perhaps most easily comparable to The Witness. Personally, that’s what I hope to see more of – but if you’re looking for a dose of real badass, it looks like it’s got you covered there, too. The balance between the two sides will be the key to its success.

Joe Skrebels is the executive editor of IGN News. Follow him further Twitter. Do you have any advice for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Please send an email to

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