Not one to hesitate from showing disturbing imagery, Scorn is not for those who are faint of heart. I couldn’t help but feel queasy as I explored through the bizarre alien architecture of this alien planet that felt like someone’s decaying organs.
So what is Scorn exactly? Scorn is a first person survival horror that leans more towards solving puzzles. Combat is present in the game however feels like it takes a backseat to the former. Much of Scorn plays as linear exploration with its puzzle elements being tied to progression.
Being developed by Ebb Software since 2013, Scorn has quietly dropped out the right until recently. It’s received pretty critical acclaim online for its bizarre and interesting imagery and symbolism. However a game should be more than just that and in this review of Scorn, we’ll talk about the gameplay, atmosphere, and everything else.
The narrative direction of Scorn is a brave one. There is no single line of dialogue anywhere. The silent gnaws of a dead alien civilization is all you have to the pieces together to come to a conclusion as to what happened. Scorn leaves a lot up to interpretation using environmental storytelling.
Scorn definitely nails the desolate atmosphere of a dead alien planet. A lot of its environment is eerily reminiscent of works from H.R. Giger particular the Aliens franchise. In what could only be described as biomechanical, the remnants of a system that you have to operate to solve puzzles are both part machine and part flesh.
I could never stop being in awe of whatever the creative minds of Ebb Software made. Mostly because I asked myself what this alien machine is supposed to do every time I encounter a new one. And since every structure is pretty much alien, you don’t get the slightest clue as to what they do until you interact with them. Scorn definitely piques our curiosities simply by virtue of being so bizarre.
The puzzle solving in Scorn is well thought out. It blends in well with the biomechanical alien machinery that you have to figure out how to use. Puzzles in this game aren’t so easy that you can breeze through them, however they aren’t so hard that you need to constantly look up guides online in order to solve them.
Most puzzles really center around getting a particular item to work some machine in order to clear a path to progress forward. I think Ebb Software did this particularly well as it encourages us to explore the environment and appreciate its design before having that eureka moment where you get the idea of how the puzzle is supposed to be solved.
The issues I have with Scorn centers around its combat. The combat in the game just didn’t feel fun despite how intense encounters with enemies can get due to low ammunition.
After halfway into the game, you’ll eventually encounter hostile lifeforms. Most of them spew poison that damage your health but some do like to charge at you. With low ammo and initial weak weaponry, these encounters are challenging. However they don’t provide anything meaningful as the gunplay in Scorn feels slow and even restricting.
Scorn plays out pretty straightforwardly. While there are plenty of corridors to explore that lead to dead ends, the game is rather linear. There are no collectibles or secrets to find and for the most part I kind of like it that way. However it also doesn’t incentivize another playthrough of the game making it a one time journey.
I was able to play Scorn thanks to its inclusion on Xbox Game Pass. With its 5 hour average playthrough, it’s hard to give a recommendation to purchase the game outright.
With my RX 5500 XT I was able to play the game on Medium settings at a solid 60 FPS. However it did occasionally freeze for a second when entering new levels before resuming as usual. Scorn is quite polished as I didn’t experience any bugs or crashing during my time with it.
Scorn can be more described as an art piece on video game format. With a low playtime until completion and little replay value, it’s a game that can be finished in one sitting. Scorn has interesting but grotesque visuals to admire and puzzles to solve but it lacks a bit of gameplay to justify a full purchase.
Scorn – Review
You better have to choose if it’s worth spending your spare cash, because it might not be the game for you and it might be for others.