With social media platforms like Facebook and Timehop, you can quite easily be reminded of good times you had in the past. The flip side of this of course is that you can also be reminded of things you don’t want to remember. Now imagine that, but imagine that you’re actually physically visiting those bad memories again. You don’t want to revisit them, but here you don’t have a choice. This is the position that Asemblance puts you in. Nilo Games have delivered a head fu#k of the highest order and it’s time for us to step into some dark places in order to get out.
You wake to find yourself trapped inside some kind of weird, experimental station. In front of you is a terminal. This terminal effectively gives you the ability to log in and select certain memories. No information is given, other than the location of the memory. Once a memory is selected, you can enter. Once inside, you can use the R2 button to zoom in and look more closely at things. This doesn’t seem like a big deal, but zooming in on certain objects will trigger you out of the memory. It’s almost the console’s way of telling you that you’ve found what you need to find in this memory, or you’re not ready to experience the truth behind it all just yet. You can also willingly leave any memory with the triangle button, but it won’t change the fact that you need to explore the uncomfortable to make it out of this.
The game is genuinely scary in places, not in a horror way, but more in a “What the fu#% is going on?!” type way. At times you might want to turn away from details of the past, but you won’t want to turn away from the visuals on show. Although environmentally quite sparse, Asemblance is a joy to look at. There is a staggering attention to detail, especially when there are only essentially 5 different environments. I particularly loved that photographs scattered around were of real people, and letters lying around your office go into a lot of detail if you zoom in on them. Another hugely impressive aspect of Asemblance is that you’ll find yourself completely gripped by the story, even if you don’t fully understand what’s going on. And I think that’s the point of Asemblance, I don’t think you’re supposed to be able to fully grasp everything. I think it’s a story that is to be debated amongst other players, combining and exploring your own theories with theirs.
The only negative I can possibly think of is that the game is very short, which is probably the most complimentary negative a game can receive. I wrapped 4 of the 5 endings up naturally in a few hours. But thankfully, Nilo Games have said that Asemblance is part of a series of Twilight Zone, X Files and Black Mirror inspired games. The idea that something as cool as this could morph into some kind of weird, thought provoking franchise has me ludicrously excited for the future. Roll on the next one.
As far as single-player first-person, psychological games go, Asemblance is one of the best I have played. With this being the first in an expansive franchise, the possibilities of where this could go are endless. I’ll be first in line. But first, make sure you don’t miss out on the start of something special. Asemblance deals in unforgettable memories, and Nilo Games latest is certainly hard to forget.
Punk rating: 8.5/10