It carries the ATLAS seal of approval!

HIGH Inspired architecture.

LOW Issues with performance and random crashes.

WTF Finishing Hardcore with no autosave on…

Developed by two-man team BleakMill over the course of three years, Industria is a first-person shooter set in an alternate future, in a timeline which feels inspired both by steampunk and aesthetics of Eastern Europe during the Cold War of the late ’70s and early ’80s.

The story sees young scientist Nora on the hunt to discover what fate befell her missing husband. In doing so, she ends up in an alternate future where the artificial intelligence project the couple was working on, named ATLAS, has taken over. The AI is in full ‘Skynet’-mode (see: Terminator) and will stop at nothing to eradicate all human lifeforms. As a result of its actions, Nora is the only human around for the entirety of the adventure.

While it’s refreshing to see an ordinary protagonist who doesn’t behave like an elite soldier or superhero, this choice to use a ‘normal’ person ultimately makes little difference as Nora doesn’t seem to question things or doubt herself — she just starts using weapons immediately and gets to it.

As our antagonist is an AI, of course Nora’s enemies will be of the robotic kind — most will attack physically, and only few of them will shoot. Foes are many and resources are scarce, even though it is possible to explore and find more ammo and health vials in crates and furniture. Personally, I didn’t have problems with scarcity of ammo, except right at the very start when I was stuck using the initial pistol. While there are enough enemy types to keep things varied, from mechanical dogs to mannequin-like automatons, none of the designs are particularly memorable.

Apart from the first-person combat, Industria offers a puzzle involving electricity and valves in the first 20 minutes of play. One would reasonably expect to find others later, but instead it ends up being the only one. The rest of the campaign’s puzzles are mostly about dragging crates around to use for jumping, so no minds will be taxed here. Despite the poor puzzles, the combat is solid and since Nora is not capable of withstanding more than a couple of hits, tension always runs pretty high.

While its mechanics are… fine?… where Industria shines is in its marriage of architecture and narrative. Tthe steampunk setting suggests a world where there is much to be explored. Unfortunately, the narrative develops along cliché lines by asking the player to read notes laying around and talking to an unknown person via radio — both things which have been done by countless titles, countless times before. On the plus side, the voice actors are particularly good.

Industria‘s best aspects are its solid combat and beautiful architecture. While this might not be enough for other titles, these things do carry its 4-5 hour runtime, and by not overstaying its welcome it remains engaging enough until the end.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Disclosures: This game is developed by BleakMill and published by HeadUp. It is currently available on PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on PC. Approximately 5 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode and the game was completed. There are no multiplayer modes.

Parents: The game is not rated by the ESRB, but it contains violence. Even though most of the enemies are robots, given the abundance of guns and shooting and the quality of the narrative, I would recommend it at least to a teen audience.

Colorblind Modes: There are several colorblind modes available.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: This game features subtitles for all spoken dialogue. Text can be resized and the on-screen duration can be modified as well. There are some audio cues from the enemies, but the subtitles help in that regard.

Remappable Controls: Being a PC FPS, the game is designed to be controlled with a combination of keyboard plus mouse — using WASD to move the character and the mouse to look around and shoot, while Q is used to replenish health and E to interact with objects. The controls are remappable.

Damiano Gerli
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