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Promesa review for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Publisher: Fantastico Studio
Developer: Fantastico Studio/Julián Palacios Gechtman
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E

You know what’s never fun? Listening to someone tell you about their half-remembered dream. Like, if someone had a really vivid dream about crazy stuff happening, that can be fun to listen to, but if it’s just someone rambling on about a bunch of disconnected images with no connecting plot, it’s likely that you’ll be looking for an escape route awfully quickly.

Promesa, unfortunately, is the gaming equivalent of that. While it may be trying to tell an overarching story about a grandparent and child connecting, in practice it’s just walking very slowly through a series of unconnected images and scenes. One moment you’re walking down a hall, the next you’re walking through a cave, the next you’re in another hall, then you find yourself slowly falling to earth. Repeat that for 45 minutes, throw in some random quotes, and you know what it’s like to play the game.

In the interests of fairness, I should note that the game is slightly more interesting than that. It’s a walking simulator, but it’s sort of a procedurally generated walking simulator, in that it includes more scenes than you ever get during a single playthrough, and it puts those scenes in a random order every time, so no two playthroughs are ever the same.

Further, while none of the scenes are interesting, some of them are at least kind of nice to look at from a distance. Admittedly, most of the time everything looks blurry if you get too close, but, at the very least, there are some pleasant visuals to look at as you trudge slowly in one direction or another.

But given how little meaning any of these scenes have to anyone outside the developer, it’s hard to care about any of them – or, by extension, anything else in Promesa. And that’s without even getting into the fact that you walk insanely slowly here, so even though a playthrough lasts 45 minutes, if you were moving at anything like a reasonable speed, it would probably be more like 20 minutes or less. Promesa is a slow-moving, boring game that never really explains why it exists, which makes it hard to care about any of it.

Fantastico Studio provided us with a Promesa Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: C-