GAME REVIEW: P.A.M.E.L.A. [Steam Early Access]

I wish I had a gaming computer. When I play P.A.M.E.L.A, the Early Access game from developer NVYVE Studios, I am reminded of how out of date my computer is. When you first start PAMELA, an on-screen message reminds you that this is a work in progress, and the load times may make you believe that the game has frozen. The problem when you’re a gamer like me, with an insufficient motherboard processor, your game ends up freezing as it loads. P.A.M.E.L.A. freezes often. I have never quit the game without it freezing, forcing me to close it. The upside to this is that this is the only alarming technical issue I have had with P.A.M.E.L.A.

 

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In P.A.M.E.L.A.,  things have gone disastrously wrong. There are corpses in body bags all over the floors. Some people have been turned into organic statues. They’re lucky, because those who haven’t become statues are shambling around as zombies.This is a survival game. Your character (a female, I am led to believe) is not defenseless against this nightmare situation. Your character has a multitool called the IVG that is able to scan for resources. The other function of the IVG is to build structures. I haven’t built anything yet, but you learn very early what you need in order to do so. Your last resource is the AARM, a gauntlet on your…arm! AARM contains all your menus, from any data you collect, your status, your inventory, and your upgrade system. It’s good that games do this every so often, having items on your body actually serve a purpose. The last time I can remember this happening is in the Dead Space series. Dead Space would have your health indicated directly on your character’s body, rather than on a side of the screen. P.A.M.E.L.A.‘s AARM is similar and it helps to keep you immersed in the world.

You have to survive against the environment, trying not to starve or dehydrate. You also have to defend yourself against physical threats. When I played  the first few times, I thought that zombies were the only enemy type in P.A.M.E.L.A., but that was only due to the route I had decided to take. I found my way to an outside area early on, but my save was inexplicably wiped (Maybe due to game updates?) so I decided to explore other areas. This was when I saw robots for the first time. The robots are no joke, and I had to skedaddle as soon as they turned their attention on me.   I don’t find the zombie enemy type to be too interesting, especially when the robots are more menacing. The zombies might be important to the story, but there isn’t much of a story anyway. Most of the story is told in data you find on computers, or from P.A.M.E.L.A. The titular P.A.M.E.L.A. is an AI given a female voice. You get to hear recordings of her from modules located throughout the world. I don’t know if PAMELA is responsible for the disaster that’s happened, but it seems like she reached a human level of awareness. I don’t know that much about this world. It’s hard when you seem like the only human alive.

I am optimistic about P.A.M.E.L.A., but I don’t think P.A.M.E.L.A. knows what it wants to be. Is P.A.M.E.L.A. a survival game? Is it an RPG? Is it a sci-fi horror game? Maybe P.A.M.E.L.A. has to sacrifice one of these game styles in order to focus on the strengths of the others. I am hoping for tweaks to the survival elements, namely the time it takes for your character to become dehydrated or starved. Or maybe NVYVE Studios will take out the starvation element out entirely? I, for one wouldn’t miss it! I don’t like hearing constant beeps indicating that I’m dying of thirst.

P.A.M.E.L.A. has a lot of ambition, and I think that even if parts of the game are excised, NYVYE will still develop a positively received game. The world they have created is colorful and fun to explore. I wonder if the story will be more engaging once it is ready for a wide release. P.A.M.E.L.A. is priced at £18.99 ($24.99, €22.99), which makes sense given the level of quality put into the title.


Rating: 3.5/5

Reviewer: VichusSmith

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