Game

Review: Someday You’ll Return is a Spooky Walk in the Woods

Screenshot: Someday You’ll Return

First person horror is great—nothing is more immersive than seeing through the eyes of the person who is trapped in a terrifying situation, fighting or fleeing for survival. Scarier still is the thought of having to rescue a loved one caught in the same hell as you. And there’s something about being lost in the woods that is unnerving on a primal level, even if it’s just simulated.

Someday You’ll Return is a first person horror adventure game. You play as a man who is looking for his lost daughter, Stela. You embark into Czech forests to look for her, but it’s soon obvious that things aren’t quite right. And it won’t be as easy as following a GPS signal to catch up with her. Are the events in the woods supernatural, or is your character losing his mind—as he’s forced to revisit scenes and memories from his past.while avoiding an inexplicable creature that seems to live in an old World War II bunker? This game has a surprising amount of parallels to the similar Blair Witch game—but Someday You’ll Return, despite its lower production values, manages to be more than just a walk in the woods.

Screenshot: Someday You’ll Return

Someday You’ll Return is a calm walk in the woods—but a slightly spooky one. And you’ll be doing a lot of walking, and searching for objectives, as there is very little handholding. You have to discover what to do by reading notes that are lying around, and generally figuring out clues and their meaning on your own. There’s something old school about it that reminds me of old adventure games that didn’t care if you succeeded or failed.

There are a surprising amount of little mechanics that make Someday You’ll Return its own thing, and more than a walking simulator. Someday You’ll Return features more than just rudimentary puzzle solving. There are also a couple of different crafting mechanics, including a system for herbalism (for potion making) that is much more interesting than I would expect. While some obstacles are overcome by spamming left mouse (or something similar) others will have to be figured out with careful object manipulation, and/or exploration. Even climbing (where you can do it) is interesting, with a mini-game that’s about searching for handholds to find the route up.

Screenshot: Someday You’ll Return

Potions in Someday You’ll Return feel simultaneously superfluous and useful. There is a potion that allows you to see more herbs to collect for more potion making, but other potions range from being interesting but mostly useless to incredibly niche. There’s a potion to remove corruption once you get it, but that’s a rare circumstance for most of the game. And there’s another potion that allows you to read a note writer’s true thoughts, and despite how interesting the concept is, it only ends up adding flavor more than anything meaningful gameplay-wise.

Someday You’ll Return suffers a bit graphically. Animations are stiff, and it looks a little older than it is. In fact, the whole presentation is a bit lacking, with the voiceover work being incredibly inconsistent. I hated the voice actor’s performance for the main character—the one you play as. I feel like some of the lines are delivered oddly due to localization quirks—but despite its lower production values, Someday You’ll Return manages competency.

Screenshot: Someday You’ll Return

Though I was never very scared throughout my playthrough, there were a few surprising moments, and even a few gross-out moments. For instance, I never imagined I’d be playing a game where I’d have to dodge falling deer carcasses, or otherwise be crushed and covered in their decomposing mess when their bloated bodies EXPLODE gore all over you. But, despite a few moments of feeling helpless and shocked, I was mostly bored.

Screenshot: Someday You’ll Return

Someday You’ll Return really does a great job of making you feel like you’re lost in the woods. No objective markers means lots of backtracking—at least it did for me. But I have to say, the forests and (presumably) real-world locations used are incredibly intriguing. I’ve never been to a Czech nature trail, but Someday You’ll Return does a great job of emulating one. Come for the scares, stay for the interesting insight into foreign nature trails. Unironically, I loved this this aspect of Someday You’ll Return. There are recreations of actual maps and information boards, as well as information about real world landmarks. The developers seem proud of the locations they were depicting, and despite the somewhat lower fidelity, did a good job making them look pretty good.

Screenshot: Someday You’ll Return

Someday You’ll Return is a walk in the woods that I enjoyed, even if it can get a tad boring searching for objectives. There were long stretches of searching that involved no horror whatsoever. But the moments that were supposed to be tense and scary managed a few shocks, and it does manage to separate itself with an interesting crafting and herbalism mechanic. Overall, Someday You’ll Return is a mixed bag.

Someday You’ll Return is available tomorrow on Windows.

 

 

 

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