The Bunker is an FMV game with an interesting concept; you are the lone survivor in (unsurprisingly) a bunker, where you’ve lived your entire life. As developers Splendy Games say, it’s “where movies and video games collide.”

There’s a compelling story at its core, and to me, it’s a welcome return to the FMV games of the past, but with modern polish.

The Bunker menu screen

Story

You ‘play’ as John, born in an RGHQ (Regional Government Headquarters) secret bunker in England. When you were just a child, a series of nuclear bombs hit Europe and the shelter was locked down.

Skip to day 10,998. It’s only you and your dying mother left. Cue a tearful and snotty-nosed scene where she passes away in her bed, while reminding you to stay safe, to follow the routine, to not leave your room.

Skip ahead a little more and we’re faced with our daily routine list. This includes visiting your (now skeletal) mother, checking your radiation levels and eating a can of food. While on the toilet.

Peas and carrots on the toilet
I was not joking.

You could say, quite literally, that John has led a sheltered life. It’s not long before things start to go awry though, with shorted fuses and broken air filtration units. Time to head out into the rest of the bunker, make it through a few panic attacks, and try to fix everything.

As you progress and explore, you’re treated to a few flashbacks of John growing up in the bunker. It’s not long before you piece together the horrific events that led to him and his mother being the only survivors out of the 59 military personnel originally there.

Graphics

This is an FMV game; there are no graphics to speak of here. Instead, let’s talk about the aesthetics.

The framing is notably good in places. There are plenty of close up, pensive shots of John to convey his distress at the situation he finds himself in. The use of lighting is also effective.

The sets do the job: it does feel like a government bunker which has been mainly untouched for the past 20 plus years. The setting feels very grey, very brown, very muted – right down to John’s clothes, in fact.

The Bunker - bloody hospital beds

All in all, despite the dreary location, it’s a good looking game.

Audio

The ambient sounds are effective, adding to the mood (which is mainly tense, tinged with despair). Some of the music felt a little incongruous with the action at times. At other points, it sounded like it had been lifted from a Doctor Who episode from the ’60s. They seem to have used a theramin in some of the music, which I felt was a nice touch.

I’d normally talk about the voice acting here, but of course this game features full on acting. Speaking of which, it’s not bad at all, with the exception of a few stilted lines.

Gameplay

I would say that this is more of an interactive movie – there isn’t much in the way of ‘gameplay’ here. There are a few quick time events, but for the most part you’re just clicking on the odd thing here and there.

There are collectibles to be found, though. Each of these comes with its own achievement – in fact, there was an achievement to be had every few minutes.

Hand-whittled toys
One of your hand-whittled toys.

You’d expect he’d have become a little better at whittling, what with having practically 30 years of nothing much else to do.

There’s a bit of exploration to be done, finding notes and playing back recordings, which paint a picture of what life was like in the bunker and how things went seriously downhill.

The Bunker: A skelington!
+2 marks for the inclusion of skeletons, as per the global standard reviewing rules.

Verdict

If you are looking for an interactive movie with a compelling story, something that you can finish in an evening, then this is your game. Despite the miserable, despair-filled setting, I thoroughly enjoyed this.

Questions about the game? Ask away in the comments below.

Published by Melanie Blagg

A British gamer who failed the entrance exam for the PC master race.

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