Pneuma: Breath of Life is a soothing cerebral puzzle game. Built around beautiful aesthetics and clever puzzles, the game focuses on exploration rather than domination.
Pneuma invites you to explore the game and its puzzles, seeing all the possibilities free from enemies or environmental dangers. The narrative is unexpected, but complements gameplay with insightful commentary. Simultaneously compelling and relaxing, Pneuma: Breath of Life is a pleasure to play.
Pneuma is all about the story; therefore, I will simply say it is a delightful and intriguing narrative. In many ways, it reminds me of Portal 2. And by that I mean a good, strong game narrative complementing the puzzle mechanics and gameplay; however, Pneuma is more about the process of solving the puzzle rather than the solution. The joy is in the journey, which is highlighted by the progression of the art.
Pneuma’s art is breathtaking. The beginning of the game is very stark and adds more details and colors to the world as you move through the levels. Every level is more vivid and detailed than the last, and the soundtrack is also very soothing, playing in the background without disturbing play. A perfect backdrop to the main focus of the game, the narrative.
Initially, the narrator’s voice is jarring against the serene and beautiful environment, but the further I played, the more it clicked with the story. The juxtaposition subtly highlights the central premise of Pneuma. The narrator feels like a mix between Wheatley from Portal 2 and the narrator from The Stanley Parable. And he offers subtle clues to the puzzles, making him more than just a funny voice.
Pneuma is extremely intuitive to play as well, which is essential in a puzzle game. The puzzles were also very satisfying to solve, motivating me to keep playing even the more difficult ones. The mechanics build upon each other nicely within the individual levels and the whole game.
The cues for the puzzles were excellent, and they challenged me without feeling impossible. They were easy to manipulate without fear of repercussion. Rarely do puzzle games allow the freedom to simply play around with the environment like Pneuma.
Pneuma blends satisfying puzzles with a cerebral concept in a beautiful world. It is the perfect game to unwind with after a long day. The balanced puzzles and quippy dialogue keep it interesting while the beautifully designed levels soothe the eyes.
It’s greatest flaw is it may not appeal to some players, but honestly, everyone should try it. It is relaxing and challenging; a great game to finish your day.