Pneuma: Breath of Life is a first person puzzler that takes players on a journey of self discovery. Players take control of Pneuma, who loves to give their own monologue in a kind of self obsessed and comical way, kind of like Wheatley from Portal 2.
Players are initially greeted by just a crosshair, and the rest of their screen, as Pneuma begins to talk about self actualization, and the fact that he must be a deity of some form. The world then begins to shape in around you, and you begin your journey through the newly created world. At first, it starts off as just a straight forward walk, as you listen to Pneuma continue has monologue, but before long, you come across your first tests.
The puzzles of Pneuma start off quite simple. At first, you just have to look at some eye shapes for long enough for a door to open, before making your way through before the doors close when you break visual contact. From then on, as each chapter progresses, you find that the puzzles start to get a little more challenging as you find objects can be interacted with depending on your sight, or player movement. Sometimes you need to take a step back and see how the world changes with your interactions, as some doors open as you move towards them, and others as you walk away. Some times I found myself looking away and walking backwards to make sure that I didn’t accidentally close a door again on my way through.
Later puzzles take this sight mechanic a step further, as things change as you look away. One puzzle sticks in my mind, where there is a floor that you need to make completely blank, but at first I didn’t click on, so I purposely left that section and came back to it. Upon my return, I finally noticed that each square on the floor would change colour every time I glanced back over it, and after a few minutes of awkward camera movements, I was finally back on my adventure through the world of Pnuema.
With that being said though, the puzzles don’t really get that difficult and after a few moments, something that may have seemed a little strange at first, actually turns out to be really simple to work out. These puzzles are all interacted with in the same way, you either pull levers, push buttons, or look at key points, which ensures players don’t get too distracted as they listen to the dialogue of Pneuma. Players will find they can probably get through the game within a comfortable four hour time frame, whilst still appreciating the game, but if you want to rush through it, you can easily finish the main story within a couple of hours.
Overall Pneuma: Breath Of Life was enough to occupy me for an afternoon. Lovers of Gamerscore and Trophies will find it easy to complete this title, with there only being a handful of them which require any additional effort. Pneuma, although rather easy and short, is a wonderful gem of a narrative title, and can be a nice little change of pace to some other puzzler titles. If you want to enjoy an afternoon of gentle puzzling and exploring, then it’s certainly the game for you. One of the main strengths is the character the game has based on the narrative, and it will stick with you even after you’ve played the game.