Game: The Great Perhaps
Genre: Action | Adventure | Platformer | Puzzle
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam, Console and Mobile)
Developers | Publishers: Caligari Games | Drageus Games
Age Rating: EU 12+ | US T | AUS PG
Price: EU €9,99 | USD $9.99 | AUD $15.00 | CAD $13.22 | UK £8.99
Release Date: July 10th 2020
Review code used with many thank’s to Drageus Games
The Great Perhaps is an action/adventure game that was first released on Steam in August 2019 and has now come to Switch.
All Alone In Space
In deep space a solitary astronaut, Kosmos, is performing routine maintenance on the outside of a space station. After finishing his work Kosmos makes his way back inside the spaceship. The command station reports to Kosmos that a bad storm is ravaging the Earth and orders Kosmos to put himself into a cryogenic sleep to save resources. When Kosmos awakens 100 years later he discovers that there are no signs of life, no communication signals, no satellites: nothing at all is coming from Earth!
Kosmos is alone and desolate, especially after realising that if his family had survived to storm, they would be long dead after a century.
His initial reaction is too kill himself. Less than a few minutes into The Great Perhaps and the protagonist is thinking of killing himself! Quite a jarring idea but under the circumstances I would imagine it is very realistic.
Kosmos is stopped from killing himself by the space stations computer L9, who refuses to cut off his oxygen supply. And together they decide to return to Earth and find out what had happened to Kosmos’s family.
Kosmos finds a Lantern
Once they have landed on Earth, Kosmos finds a mysterious lantern,. By switching it on he discovers he is transported into the past before the disaster has occurred on Earth. An idea springs to mind and Kosmos makes the decision to visit his old house to see if he can find out what happened to his loved ones hoping he can somehow change the timeline by effecting past events using the lantern.
Furthermore, L9 tells Kosmos that she can locate any human survivor on the planet and there is only one sign of life within thousand mile radius of their landing site.
The Search For Life Begins
You play as Kosmos as he makes his journey home through the ravaged remains of an empty subway, the ruins of an old carnival and so on. The lanterns main use is to Switch back and forth between the past and the present. By tapping the Y button, you can view a part of the alternate world and by holding the Y button Kosmos transports fully into the other reality. Most of the time it’s used to avoid hazards by peeking into the next reality.
I like the idea of the lantern as a time switching device even though it’s not the first time I’ve played a game with the same idea in it! Unfortunately for The Great Perhaps I found using the lantern to be a rather irritating affair. For example, there is a section in the subway, as Kosmos is passing through it he is stopped by a blockage on the track. To get past the blockage you flick the lantern to the past which makes the track free, once past it you need to switch back to the present day. If you don’t, a train will run over Kosmos and he dies instantly!
Fair enough. I got the hang of how to use the lantern to avoid death but when I pressed the Y button nothing happened. Kosmos was still in the past with a fast approaching train on the same tracks as him. L9 very helpfully told me to switch the lantern, which I was trying to do, but to no avail. Kosmos met his doom on more than one occasion at the exact same spot. Thankfully when you do die you restart from the last save point in the game so it’s not too frustrating having to start again.
Most of the puzzles are simple enough and presented in a logical fashion. Some require a little backtracking, but you shouldn’t have much difficulty in solving them without much thought. And as the main game mechanic is the lantern which is used for nearly every puzzle by peeking into the past or present.
Kosmos himself has a rather slow walk and an equally slow run. He can jump and throw items, but controlling Kosmos felt a little clunky to me, as he moves slowly and is cumbersome in his actions. Kosmos has no inventory slots whatsoever and can only carry one item at a time apart from the lantern. Which means a lot of the puzzles are simply running back and forth between dangerous areas during your play through of roughly 3 hours. All the while alternating between the past and present day to complete the game.
Visuals And Controls
The Great Perhaps 2D visuals of hand drawn scenes with muted grey colours in the present time and bright vibrant colours when Kosmos is in the past are one of the best things about the game. I felt that both the games music and visuals conveyed the atmosphere of both present and past times to the player very well.
Both Kosmos and L9 are voice acted, L9 offering help with a sarcastic tone in a robotic voice, some of the voice acting sounded rather stilled to me at times, this may be the result of awkward translation from its original Russian.
The Great Perhaps is controlled using the Joycons only and for the most part they work fine, apart from when you urgently need to switch from past to present in the heat of the moment and the switching of the lantern lets you down.
I’m slightly disappointed in The Great Perhaps. The game expands no further on Kosmos’ feelings that lead to his declaration at the start of the game of not wanting to live. I think it’s a missed opportunity.
The non-responsive controls when switching off the lantern can quickly turn into a very frustrating experience, while watching Kosmos die through no fault of your own.
The story, while interesting, comes to an abrupt halt at the end of the 3 hours or so it takes to complete the game. I guess that leaving the story on a cliffhanger at the end leaves the door open for a Great Perhaps 2. We shall have to wait and see on that one.
Final Verdict: I’m Not Sure