Reviews - Updated on March 29, 2022

A first-person shooter with little shooting; a story game where the story ends as soon as it starts; a project with original art design, but terrible optimization and poor technical execution of graphics; a development that dragged on for years, resulting in a campaign lasting a couple of hours … Industria is full of contradictions and extremes, which is not surprising for such a low-budget and frankly amateur project – this is the first and so far the only release in the track record of developers from Bleakmill Games, but it definitely stands out from a host of indies flooding Steam.

Brave new world

Autumn 1989, Berlin. The outlines of a new world are already visible on the horizon – for the Germans, its arrival will be marked primarily by the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of the country, divided into two parts almost half a century ago. However, the main character of Industria named Nora Solheim will be touched by these events only in passing – exactly on November 9 (the same day when the wall collapsed), she discovers the disappearance of her colleague and part-time and beloved person, Walter, with whom they are working together on a secret project in Berlin scientific laboratory. Frightened by the loss of her lover, she hurries in search of a huge device that they have been working on and which, as the player gradually understands, can teleport objects and animals to another dimension.

Industria Overview

The first level, in Berlin, looks quite poor from a technical point of view.

Everything points to the fact that Walter finally decided to conduct a test on a person – choosing himself as a test subject. Nora finds nothing better than to follow him – a rather reckless decision and not particularly motivated, but apparently love is stronger than fear (although from the outside it seems that the heroine perceives what is happening as a fun adventure).

The transition is completed successfully, but on the other side, Nora meets not Walter at all, but a city abandoned by the inhabitants, which has survived either a war, or a natural disaster, or all at once. This world is vaguely similar to ours, but it is at a completely different level of technological development, in which our beloved steampunk is unmistakably guessed.

This, in fact, ends the prologue and begins the main part of the journey, during which Nora will try to find her beloved, along the way trying to figure out a whole bunch of mysteries generously scattered by the scriptwriters as she progresses.

At the most interesting point

The prologue, by the way, turned out to be completely unimportant: here is the illogical behavior of the main character, and sad graphics (no, not Unity, but Unreal Engine), and the absence of at least some kind of gameplay, except for running along the corridor level. After teleportation, the sensations are completely different: if the first level was done in a hurry or without stuffing your hand, then the city of Hakavik (this is the name of this abandoned place) looks many times better than Berlin, consisting of a couple of box houses with low quality textures.

Industria Overview

You can easily go through the whole game with a regular pistol without using other weapons.

Industria is clearly not one of those games that can impress with the technological level of the picture. This is understandable – this is not an AAA shooter. On the other hand, it is indie projects that often attract attention with their interesting design. This is just such a case: let them show us modest levels, but thanks to the original architectural images and the competent play of light and shadow, Hakavik feels its own style, and the intimacy of the production never interferes.

The developer’s love for puzzles and dislike for explaining things is reflected in the design of the levels and enemies. Strange mechanisms lying on the streets, aggressive robots of several types (they will be the only threat to Nora), power cables, huge structures towering over the city – all this creates an aura of mystery, and the plot only enhances this feeling.

Industria Overview

Between levels, Nora visits the mysterious Library. What kind of place this is, whether it is real or exists only in the imagination of the main character, is unknown.

With each new level, there are more and more questions, either a mystical or a sci-fi component gradually comes into play, but it will not be possible to finally understand what is happening even after the final credits. The story ends abruptly, and it’s hard to understand what is to blame – creative impotence, a reserve for continuation, or a consciously made open ending. Only one thing can be said for sure: it is the storytelling and the surroundings that are the strongest sides of Industria. The plot, although crudely finished, leaves a pleasant aftertaste, especially for those who like open endings.

Unfortunately, directly with the gameplay, everything is much worse here, and there are questions to the picture (albeit a technical one) not only in the prologue.

Half-Life 2 for the poor

The gameplay “in the spirit of classic shooters” (as promised by the developers before the release) in fact means only a standard utterly approach to organizing firefights and the presence of small, not at all difficult puzzles. If you came to Industria in order to shoot plenty, then you clearly made a mistake by the door. There are few enemies here, the main character has even fewer weapons (only five items), and the battles themselves are not able to surprise. To die, even at a high level of difficulty, you will have to try – the enemies are extremely toothless.

Overall, the gameplay feels similar to Half-Life 2: there are similar opponents, like small melee robots, and ways to overcome obstacles, including flirting with physics simulations. Even such a trifle as destroying boxes in search of cartridges brings to mind the mount of old Gordon.

Industria Overview

Hakavik was clearly inspired by City 17.

In general, one gets the feeling that the developers have read a certain “Game Design Tutorial for Dummies” and decided to bring its postulates to life, carefully reproducing long-known clichés. It turned out rather clumsily, and some tricks are visible to the naked eye: here you need to “spawn” more enemies in order to portray tension, there is another puzzle, the solution of which is obvious to an experienced video game lover … We have seen this more than once.

Terrible optimization gets in the way of enjoying great visual design. Somewhere in the middle of the passage, you have to choose from two evils – either lower the graphics settings, which instantly turns the levels into a parody of a modern shooter, or endure terrible “brakes” that prevent you from comfortably shooting at enemies and just moving around. However, even without this, the charm of the steampunk city completely disappears, one has only to get into the open area – the closed spaces of the developers are much better.

Industria Overview

I had to sacrifice picture quality for a more or less acceptable frame rate.

Nevertheless, I don’t want to abandon the passage in the middle – after all, the plot is intriguing enough to distract from boring battles and low fps. A short campaign is even a blessing here – it ends when the annoyance from the stupid skirmishes begins to outweigh the interest in history.

Enemies, like shooting at them, cannot surprise you with anything.

It is possible that Industria would only get better if it was a “walking simulator” without any battles. Opponents are interesting for their design, and not their behavior in battle, and the straightforward passage of miniature levels does not get bored precisely because of the style and history. The plot, full of mysteries, the answers to which the player will have to think of (or wait for a possible continuation), turned out to be much more interesting than the battles.

Pros: level and character design; intriguing plot.

Cons: boring fights; bad optimization; secondary gameplay.

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