The Bunker (2016)

The Bunker (2016), directed by Allen Plenderleith, written by Allen Plenderleith, Steve Ince, Ian Thomas, Kevin Beimers, starring Adam Brown, Sarah Greene, Graham Fox, developed by Wales Interactive, Splendy Interactive, published by Green Man Gaming

The Bunker isn't much of a game. It is a fairly simple interactive movie, where you do either simple tasks or proceed by reacting a quick time even when one is prompted to you during the story. And even those quick time events are relatively simple, consisting of just tapping an onscreen button a couple of times until a gauge is filled or pressing a button before time runs out. And that's what the game is like, as there are no real puzzles in it, just stuff you click in the right order until you proceed.

And, if you were wondering, this interactive movie really is a genuine FMV title. A much nicer looking than what the genre used to be in the 1990s, not to mention far more functional, but that's what the Bunker is: an FMV title. So rather than a game, let's review it as a movie that takes a bit over 1 and a half hours to watch, depending on if you die a lot during the game or not. And even if you'd die, you'll be ready the click yourself through of the scene on the second attempt, so it's not like there are huge obstacles on the way of getting to the end.

In the 1980's John is born in an underground nuclear bunker and his first task is to breathe just before nuclear explosions devour the land above. Cue forwards 30 years and only two alive in the bunker are John and his mother Margaret, who is on her deathbed. The dying woman makes John promise, that he'd follow the daily routine and stay in their rooms, as that's the only way he'd survive. 

So that's what John does, dutifully. Each day he takes his vitamins and checks his radiation count. Eat his meal and monitor the radio and perform the safety checks to ensure there's no radiation leaking to the bunker. And finally, at the end of the day, in the isolation of the bunker, he reads to his dead mother.

This monotonous existence is halted, when an alarm starts to blare. The filtration system has been compromised and John, a man grown with an over-doting mother, has to face the bunker filled with ghosts and memories of the past long since drowned deep in the subconscious. Piece by piece, the story is knit together to reveal what happened decades ago, leaving only two people alive.

The Bunker is not, as I stated, a great game. It is simplistic and not very challenging in any way imaginable. But it is, however, a pretty decent experience as an interactive movie. The technology has matured greatly from the 1990's when FMV became a buzz word that died on the advent of real-time 3D graphics. Back then FMV games were pixelated and often cheesily acted affairs, which gave the genre a bad name that is still lingering around.

Titles like the Bunker do give a good effort in altering that name though, as had more of the games were like this, reasonably well directed and acted, the reputation of the FMV could have ended up as different. While it's not much of a game, it is an enticing couple of hours to spend in an isolated bunker, digging up the secrets of the past.

The acting is good, the script is if not terribly surprising, well written and the atmosphere haunting and suspenseful, despite it's only a man and his imagination, or better yet subconscious, that is the focus of the tale. 

If you're interested in spending a couple of hours with a well made FMV title, the Bunker is a good choice. I wouldn't really mind seeing more games like this. The Bunker is available on multiple platforms, including PS4, Xbox One, Windows and Macintosh.