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Rauniot Review – A Grim Yet Captivating Dive into Post-Apocalyptic Finland

“Rauniot” emerges as a striking example of how an isometric adventure can beautifully encapsulate a bleak, post-apocalyptic setting with compelling storytelling and intricate gameplay mechanics. Developed by Act Normal Games, this title invites players to explore a desolate 1981 Finland, ravaged by nuclear disasters and subsequent wars. The game’s setting is not just a backdrop but a central character that shapes every interaction and puzzle.

The game’s photorealistic graphics are a standout feature, offering a level of immersion that’s uncommon in many indie titles. Characters move through these environments with a fluidity that suggests high production values, especially in a genre dominated by simpler visuals. The isometric view isn’t just a stylistic choice—it enhances the gameplay, making the exploration of abandoned factories and overgrown streets feel more expansive and engaging.

“Rauniot” doesn’t shy away from complexity in its puzzles, which are thoughtfully designed to integrate seamlessly with the environment. They often require manipulating old-world technology, reflecting a realistic, if sometimes harrowing, survival scenario. These puzzles respect the player’s intelligence, avoiding the infamous ‘moon logic’ that can plague the genre, and instead opting for a more intuitive, yet challenging approach.

Sound design in “Rauniot” is another high point. The choice to include Finnish voice acting adds authenticity to the setting, though the English translations suffer from minor grammatical errors. The environmental sounds—whether the cawing of crows or the eerie whistling of the wind—contribute to a thick, almost palpable atmosphere of desolation. The game’s music, minimal yet effective, with occasional bursts of black metal, complements this mood perfectly, recalling the ambient scores of early ‘Fallout’ games.

However, not all is perfect in the world of “Rauniot.” The game’s reliance on stereo sound feels like a missed opportunity for a richer auditory experience, and some users might find the English subtitles distracting due to their imperfect translation. Additionally, while the game offers about 11 hours of gameplay with some moral choices impacting the story, it remains unclear how deep these consequences run, leaving players wondering about the potential for different endings.

In conclusion, “Rauniot” is a commendable effort from Act Normal Games, capturing the essence of survival and exploration in a world that feels both foreign and familiar. It’s a must-play for fans of the adventure genre looking for something that offers both style and substance. With its detailed environments, well-crafted puzzles, and immersive sound design, “Rauniot” stands out as a poignant exploration of humanity’s resilience in the face of calamity. My final verdict is a solid 9/10 for this indie gem that successfully marries nostalgia with innovation.

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