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Pneumata preview — A Resident Evil-inspired horror worth watching out for

Pneumata
Image: Perp Games

If you’re a fan of survival horror, you might want to stick Pneumata on your watch list. We’ve just been hands-on with this upcoming title from Deadbolt Interactive and Perp Games and one thing is for sure: it’s left us with our blood speedily pumping through our veins.

The short preview build threw us into Pneumata around 60% of the way through the game. It hasn’t given us much taste of the story, then, but you’re to step into the shoes of a detective tasked with investigating the eerie walls of Clover Hill. We don’t know much more than that, but with our segment of gameplay putting us in an asylum of sorts, filled with dangerous skeletal humans, blood-sucking spiders and who-knows-what else, it seems we’ve got our work cut out for us.

Pneumata has atmosphere in droves. We were nervous before walking around every corner, never sure what would be waiting for us. Excellent sound design kept us on edge throughout; eerie, unsettling noises will stalk you, convincing you that you’re being followed. Sometimes you will be. Other times, it’s just your imagination. The photorealistic visuals really help immerse you in this terrifying world, too.

Pneumata screenshot
Image: Perp Games

Like classic survival horror games, Pneumata throws a good amount of puzzles at you. You’ll need to search for combination clues and access codes to unlock doors and source important items. For example, a clue in an email buried on an office computer told us that numbers written on the bathroom urinals would provide access to the room we needed to get into. Another note told us what order to read those numbers in.

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We’ve of course only sampled a selection of the puzzles, but they’ve left a good impression so far: not too hard that we’ve ever felt up against a brick wall, but requiring a bit of leg work and brain activity. The full game promises many more puzzles, and we’re looking forward to getting stuck into them.

But the puzzles are the easiest part of Pneumata. It’s the combat against the terrifying foes waiting for you that’s going to be the tricky part. Ammo is scarce, so you’ll need to fire sparingly and with meaning. Most enemies seem to go down with one hit as long as it’s well-aimed into their heads. Others might take a few more bullets. You’ve also got a melee weapon at your disposal and, failing that, you can simply kick out to keep enemies at bay.

Pneumata screenshot
Image: Perp Games

But you’re not made of steel; you’re pretty fragile, and a couple of wayward attacks will see you fall to your death. You’ll need to keep a stock of health materials (which you can either find or craft) if you want to stay alive. But like everything else, they are going to be scarce, so you’ll want to use them as sparingly as possible. When things really get going in Pneumata, all we can say is: good luck.

It’s clear that Pneumata has taken heavy inspiration from the likes of Resident Evil — even down to inventory management. That’s no bad thing: we’re always eager to see new horror games enter the scene and based on the time we’ve spent with it, we’re quietly confident that Pneumata could offer something new, interesting and — hopefully — terrifying.

We’ve only had a short taste of it so far, but Pneumata seems to have all the ingredients that make up a solid survival horror game: an intriguing story, scary enemies, engaging puzzles, challenging combat and a tense atmosphere. With a couple more months to go until its release, this is one definitely worth keeping your eyes on.

Pneumata is set to release on PC, PS5 and Xbox Series X/S later this year.

Editor in chief // Kim's been into video games since playing Dizzy on her brother's Commodore 64 as a nipper. She'll give just about anything a go, but she's got a particular soft spot for indie adventures. If she's not gaming, she'll be building Lego, reading a thriller, watching something spooky or... asleep. She does love to sleep.