The Great Perhaps
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Imagine being an astronaut, surrounded by the vast void of outer space, illuminated by stars, making new discoveries while chilling out on a cosy space station, and then, one day you return to earth to find it has become a complete decaying ruin of its former self. Granted at this point that probably wouldn’t make things look too different, but for the sake of The Great Perhaps, that is indeed the premise of this platforming puzzler which has been freshly ported to console thanks to the wizards at Drageus Games.
Developed by Caligari Games and originally released on PC in August 2019, The Great Perhaps put’s you in the shiny space boots of an astronaut who returns to earth to discover some kind of apocalypse has occurred, and now, you must discover what events took place to bring humanity to this grim fate. The only companion you have to accompany you on your way through the wasteland of earth is an AI named L9.
In order to get to the bottom of what has happened and prevent this world-ending event, your friendly neighbourhood astronaut quickly gets his hands on a swanky lantern that allows him to go back in time to visit locations in their former glory. Anyone who played the superb Titanfall 2 will have an idea of how this element works from playing the time-bending mission during the campaign. You explore an area in its current state, then flash your lantern, hoping Ryan Reynolds doesn’t appear to ruin the experience, to either gain a view of the location in the previous time period or transport yourself through time and explore the location which may help uncover new area’s, items and characters to interact with and gain insight from.
The lantern is not a super tool though, when travelling back in time you can only explore for a short amount of time before being sent back which makes the puzzling an exploration something of a time trial in places which in a positive way, adds a sense of urgency to your mission. Due to the game not been overly lengthy, this minimalistic approach to puzzles worked really well, the puzzle types are not exactly mind benders and will generally consist of collecting a set number of items or locating something specific and having to do so against the clock made things a bit more engaging.
The time-hopping is a good mechanic but feels a bit clunky due to the time it takes to activate and transport which may annoy some people during the more timed challenges, as mentioned, The Great Perhaps is a pretty short game so it feels like this was only done to try and stretch out the play length. For the most part, the game plays pretty smooth, exploring each level is fun enough with the controls being simplistic making The Great Perhaps accessible to a variety of players.
I really enjoyed the presentation of the game, the hand-drawn art pops nicely on both the big screen and in handheld mode with the animations being cartoonish in nature but never so much as to become slapstick. The colour palette is, for the most part, gloomy verging on grungy which suits the tone of the story and the setting. Sadly the story itself is a bit flat, though the concept and the set up are good and start things off the right way, I felt like I never really got a deep enough look into the world and the area’s I was exploring to give them any real deep meaning.
The characters I met too were also very bland which was made worse by the mixed bag of voice acting. There seemed to be no consistency to the quality with the majority of it sounding like it was just phoned in. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy having voice acting in games and it was great to see Caligari had made some effort but I feel the connections I should have been making to these characters was completely lost due to having no emotional depth in their dialogue.
The Great Perhaps is a good concept that sadly falls short of its potential due to an extremely short length, it shouldn’t take you much more than an hour to get through if you are familiar with puzzlers making the £8.99 or $9.99 asking price a bit steep. I can’t help but feel that the experience is a selection of good ideas hastily slapped together providing little depth to the otherwise intriguing setting, this is one that’s best left to pick up when you see it in a sale.
TBG Score: 5.5/10
Platform: PC, Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo
Release Date: 10/07/2020
No. of Players: 1
Category: Puzzler, Platformer
Developer: Caligari Games
Publisher: Drageus Games
Download link: eShop