The Bunker features a fully live-actioned story depicting the mental breakdown of John, the last surviving person of an underground nuclear bunker. You'll find a great cast of actors: Adan Brown (Hobbit trilogy as the dwarf Oni) playing John, Sarah Greene (Penny Dreadful) playing John's mother, Grahame Fox (Game of Thrones), and Jerome St. John Blake (The Fifth Element). The game was filmed in a real decommissioned bunker located in England, and can even be visited today, adding a great behind the scenes aspect to everything. You can buy the game on Steam, PlayStation Store, or Xbox Marketplace for $19.99.
On July 3, 1986, the fear of nuclear bombing turned into a reality. The story takes place in Wales, England as the alarms for shelter are raised. Sarah Greene, playing as the main character John's mom, is being taken into an underground government nuclear bunker on a medical stretcher, as she is in the middle of labor with John. 30 years later, and without luck on his side, John finds himself being the last survivor. You'll see the dramatic ending to his mom's life, which will provide the layout to the downfall of John.
She tells him in some of her dying words that as long as he sticks to his everyday routine, he will survive (check radiation levels and take vitamins, check the radio, check the computer for system updates, eat, and never go anywhere else in the bunker). From here (and while avoiding spoilers), something will go wrong, giving John reason to venture deeper into the bunker in an attempt to fix it before it gets out of hand. As your progress throughout the different areas and rooms, you'll find flashbacks to when John was growing up as a kid, allowing explanations for the lead up to why he is in the situation he is in and how he became the last survivor.
There is not much in the way of gameplay for this game; you'll have control of a circular cursor on the screen which will allow you to choose what to interact with, and more or less the choices of what to interact with. Occasionally you'll be tested to move and press/hold the cursor on a specific area, based on the live action going on. In the beginning, you'll find that you don't really have options; the daily checklist will need to be done in order, and it's very to the point. But when things start going wrong and you need to investigate the bunker, you'll find the exploration and amount of interactions become deep.
You can read old documents and letters, listen to voice recordings or voice messages on phones, turn on a security camera, dig through cabinets and desks, and more. If you're playing the game for the initial story, then you'll find that everything will be trial and error in regards to finding the important step to progress the story. This is good, though; although it's not all spelt out for you and ridiculously easy, it does a good job not burying the truly important things underneath loads of side-interests, so when you're trying to find the fuse box, for example, you'll question yourself if you're in the right area, then next thing you know you notice the electricity sign on a door across the room. Puzzles can be found as you play, but they won't carry any high levels of difficulty and will be, for the most part, fairly self-explanatory.
Sound and Graphics
The game is incredibly eerie, no doubt. Everything works in sync with each other in terms of sound and graphics. The dread, fear, and pain in the characters feels incredibly strong. The clunking and popping of the different areas in the bunker immerse you into the loneliness of it all. During moments of idling, you won't find some awkward loop in the audio (also explained below). The narration of John and other characters is really well done; voice acting of those who have written love letters, filled out official documents, etc., they all have their passion and convincing tones.
If for some reason you don't know what live action means, it's when a movie/show/game is made without animations, and instead, real people acting as the characters (I'm sure you did know that, though, don't worry). It plays out like a movie and during moments of debating what to interact with next, John will be in a loop (forward, rewind, repeat), which means you'll never see an awkward skip while the game is waiting on your next action, and this is done very well. You'll only notice that he isn't literally filmed for hours in one of the positions in the event the player takes awhile if you look really closely.
The Bunker is more of an interactive movie than it is a game, but there's nothing wrong with that as long as you prepare for it to be that. It delivers on an eerie experience in a very realistic life circumstance that we all fear; nuclear war. Gamers have been able to explore the world outside of a nuclear shelter with games like Fallout 4, but this game provides a deeper look into the day-to-day life and psychological struggles on the inside. A semi-new take on point-and-click games, you'll find an interesting story being supported by good acting and chilling mysteries that will last roughly 2-3 hours.
|+ Good psychological plot with eerie feelings||– Some may be put off by "interactive movie" idea|
|+ Believable acting||– Can feel restrictive at times|
|+ Unique live-action presentation||– Debatably little replay value|
|+ Filmed in real genuine decommissioned bunker|