Master Reboot is a largely disconcerting experience. After you watch your life flickering before your eyes, you awaken only to fall from the crashed wreckage of a train. Although, the world you find yourself in isn’t one that would instantly be familiar to you, but entirely set inside a virtual server known as the Soul Cloud.
This is Wales Interactive’s second outing on Wii U and a somewhat startling contrast to the gleefully intergalactic Gravity Badgers. Flinging mammals with reckless abandon falls by the wayside, replaced by the psychological torment present throughout Master Reboot‘s unexpectedly sinister journey.
We’re invited to imagine a world where death is no longer final. The Soul Cloud, as the name implies, letting precious memories be saved for users to enjoy forever – therefore allowing someone’s soul to, at least somewhat partly, live on through their own Soul Village. These can then be relived as an when you please, which seems perfect to aid the grieving process but in large part results in a fairly morbid living graveyard.
You arrive without even knowing the identity of the character you play as, working your way through the Soul Cloud as you soon uncover that all isn’t as it should be. The journey that you undertake to discover precisely what this disturbance is sees you wandering a sunlit forest, a derelict fairground, and an abandoned hospital wing among others, looking to uncover the history behind the Mysteri Foundation’s creation.
Peculiar blue rubber ducks scattered throughout the game’s environments lend subtle clues – letters, documents and photos sent from the world of the living by the Soul Cloud’s residents, family and friends. Early on we learn of twins Astrid and Kali Patterson, although delving deeper into the virtual rabbit hole uncovers a rather disturbing tale. Master Reboot largely revolves around their life experiences, memories depicted by cartoons flashing before you at the conclusion of each memory that you complete.
Gameplay concepts are fairly basic, puzzles laid before players tasking them with re-arranging solar systems, popping targets with an air gun, and fleeing from an oversized teddy bear. There are clear standout moments whether that be bouncing you away from rising water as rain tumbles down, or warily wandering through a library with only an ill-lit torch to guide your path. You will be frequently chased by blue-gazed girls along the way, and you will run away screaming every time.
You’ll regularly encounter coloured cubes along the way: Blue teleporting you to another part of the current memory; Green returning you to the resident’s Soul Village; White being a pure memory container; and Red designating a maintenance cube, allowing you to interact with the memory that you’re currently in. For the naturally curious who will approach anything that they see this colouring isn’t necessarily important, but at least shares an insight into how the Soul Cloud’s connected. Master Reboot is explorative by design, and the adventure all the better for it.
Master Reboot‘s minimalistic visuals sadly won’t win any awards but are neatly worked in a way that allows the game to present itself in a particular individual style. It is the atmospheric, and somewhat chilling, soundtrack and audio design that lends much more to the experience, sure to keep you on your toes and enough to have made me jump on numerous occasions.
Wii U GamePad integration isn’t there for those looking for it – not that Master Reboot feels like it would particularly benefit from any additional control input – but Off-TV Play is available if you ever find your television screen stolen from you.
Whether invading the memories of the deceased sounds like the norm, Master Reboot is riddled with enough intrigue to carry you throughout the game’s six-hour playtime. Ranking among the most unique games to have graced the Nintendo eShop, it promises you a memorable adventure full of scares.