It makes me feel old, but retro gaming has exploded over the last decade. In the past, indie developers tried to give their games the best graphics possible, but nowadays it seems to be all about the retro look. A positive side effect of this trend is that it gives small and even solo developers a chance to showcase their creations in today’s video game market.
Under the Warehouse is one of those games. It was developed by Goolworks and was released on Steam last year. With the help of publisher EastAsiaSoft, it was recently released on all modern consoles (May 17). The game presents itself as a first-person adventure with a creepy atmosphere and PS1-like graphics. The screenshots and YouTube trailer caught my attention: a creepy warehouse, collecting items, solving puzzles in classic point-and-click fashion, and multiple endings. Sign me up for this adventure!
Under the Warehouse starts with a phone call and a request for help. You decide to meet this mysterious caller in a dimly lit alley. It turns out to be a hockey mask-wearing kid who is asking for a favor. The favor or request for help involves going into a creepy warehouse and finding a colored egg. Instead of saying, ‘Stop calling, take off that ridiculous mask, and go home, kid!’ you decide to sneak into the warehouse pretending to be an employee and search for the colored egg. Why not?
Once inside, you try to unravel the mystery of this creepy warehouse and find the egg. The only problem is that most factory workers or NPCs, in general, say things that aren’t important at all or make no sense. The characters that do have something to say add very little to the story. They make you run back and forth between other key characters to solve puzzles and obtain items that unlock other areas of the game. This whole ‘adventure’ in the warehouse seems to be nothing more than a big fetch quest with a couple of puzzles.
How the story used to be
The story of a first-person adventure game should be gripping and captivating, holding the attention of the gamer. A rich story should be told with plot twists and interesting gameplay.
Under the Warehouse falls short on all these points. The story makes no sense, and there is nothing mysterious or creepy about it. Where is the horror? Instead, it feels more like a low-budget Alice in Wonderland spin-off that can be completed in 20 minutes with the help of a walkthrough. Even though the game is quite short, it couldn’t hold my attention for very long. In other words, it wasn’t very good.
However, not everything about this game is bad. The PS1 graphics, especially in the alley, give the game a nice ambiance. The sound department of this game might be its best feature. Don’t get me wrong; it’s nothing special or groundbreaking, but it really sets the right tone for a mysterious adventure.
I have played and beaten Under the Warehouse multiple times now. However, I still don't understand what's supposed to be mysterious about the warehouse or what the deal is with this colored egg. The PS1 visuals drew me in, but the story (or lack thereof) left me feeling dazed and confused.