Pneumata – Is this the horror game you’ve been waiting for?

A new horror game is on the horizon and not in the season that you would expect and I was lucky enough to be offered the chance to play a preview of Pneumata prior to its release.

Pneumata creature creeping up to player

The section of the Pneumata I was allowed to play came from about 60% into the main story. This was set inside an asylum, but we’re not told how this relates to the plot or the motivations I was meant to be having. While these certainly remained unclear to me, I found myself drawn to reading every text log I could find just to try and piece what I could together about the world that I was having to navigate and survive in.

The Steam page blurb reads as follows; ‘The tenants are going missing, screams echo and blood seeps through the walls of Clover Hill. As a detective, unravel the truth that lays within and recover your fragmented memories, or succumb to the horrors that lurk in the shadows within this sinister blend of Survival & Psychological horror.

bloodied Pneumata creature about to attack

The visual design is disgusting (and I mean that in a good way). From enemy design being grotesque and unsettling to the environments being in shambles with fleshy sacks covering corridors. The level of quality involved with it from a small dev team is some phenomenal work that I am quite excited to see the full outcome of when the game is fully released.

The audio work compliments the visual side of things in every way. The unsettling ambient music makes you feel alone, well, alone from outside help as the screams, gurgles, scuttering and shambling around that can be heard do a grand job of reminding you that you are, in fact, not alone at all. When paired with the art direction, Pneumata brings it all together to create this atmosphere of tension and dread.

screenshot of Pneumata  inventory screen

The gameplay as a whole feels somewhere between Resident Evil 7/8 and the 2005 horror game Condemned. It has the Resi styling of first-person horror and item management, mixed in with combat that feels a little heavy with maze-like environments that will get you all turned around if you don’t keep on your toes, a lot like Condemned did.

The melee combat was a little sluggish feeling, even with kicks and a dodging system. This was either intentional or a design choice but one I hope is ironed out for the full release. A few other notable things that felt like a peculiar choice to me are that you have a flashlight that needs batteries yet there was no bar to tell you how much battery you had left before it was empty, and another being that your health bar was on the inventory screen. This is fine, however, there are no notable signs of how damaged you are until you hit around the 30% mark of which you get a few blood splatters on your screen.

flesh spiders behind bars

All said and done, Pneumata has already got the makings of a good horror game despite the few little niggles I had with it. Another thing I did notice was texture pop-ins, but I’ll admit this could merely be my machine not rendering things correctly or it’s something that will be ironed out before release. My final little gripe was the lack of remapping keyboard and mouse controls or even information on what the standard setup for the controls where. Thankfully button prompts do appear to teach you as you go.

shot of computer terminals with Pneumata  lore

From the preview alone, Pneumata is definitely something I will be keeping an eye out for the official release which is due out in the summer. It has sparked more than enough intrigue in me and I recommend other horror fans put it in their wish lists.

Developer: Deadbolt Interactive

Publisher: Perp Games

Platform: PC, PS5, XBSX





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