Eternal Threads, the tried and true of an adventure made up of choices

We tried Eternal Threads, a first-person adventure that uses crossroads as a founding mechanic, turning into a massive puzzle game

Time travel is an exciting mechanic, capable of transforming the simplest of narratives into a whirlwind of possibilities and twists. Perfect therefore for a first-person adventure at crossroads that, among other things, does not exploit the manipulation of the past to simply enrich the plot, but makes temporal mechanics the fulcrum of the gameplay.

In fact, he asks us to take on the role of a rookie and explore a house by jumping back and forth in time, analyzing clues and key moments that in the space of a week led to the building’s fire and the death of its six inhabitants. And it is precisely in alternating those key moments, making weighted choices based on the clues recovered, that the purpose of the title is hidden: to save as many people as possible.

We have tasted all this thoroughly for the tried by Eternal Threadsthe debut title of Cosmonaut Games which will debut on Steam on May 20 and on PS4 and Xbox between May 19. The platforms and the size of the team, consisting of just 10 people, anticipate a product certainly not oriented to exploit the latest technologies, but it is not necessary to underestimate the potential of an adventure that could prove to be very interesting.

A puzzle suspended in time


In Eternal Threads, even the seemingly less relevant moments can lead to decisive choices
In Eternal Threads, even the seemingly less relevant moments can lead to decisive choices

The start of Eternal Threads is hasty and does not hide anything but exceptional production values. But in catapulting us into the middle of a complex situation, it made us feel like real recruits, displaced in front of something bigger than us. Not entirely lost, however, thanks to the help of the voice of the mission control guys, who have made us from tutorial in the early stages, taking us to the time map, a line along which the events that separate the inhabitants of the house from a bad end are arranged, in order from the first to the seventh day.

Once one of the countless active events is launched, without loading, the house moves in time up to the relative temporal juncture, allowing us to witness what happened at that moment to the inhabitants of the house. And it is in correspondence with these events that we find the fateful choices that represent the main mechanism of gameplay. In fact, they open the way to alternative events with other choices and new clues, very useful for understanding what is happening and for making sensible decisions.

And here the house, while always remaining the same, becomes larger, over time, asking us to find and exploit combinations of locks, smartphone messages, wills, brochures, letters and a large number of choices that transform a Immediate title to play, with the classic first-person adventure gameplay that allows us to interact with a single button, in a huge puzzle to be deciphered as a whole.

As anticipated, we can move back and forth along the time map, jumping to subsequent events or returning to the initial ones to change choices already made and open new paths or new timelines. Some events, in fact, are not immediately available while others can become inaccessible thanks to choices and actions. We can thus unlock events indicated as potential or we can block events that were initially open, making alternative versions of those temporal situations available instead.

In these cases, even the related choices and clues are no longer accessible, which combined with the single rescue forces us to carefully weigh the actions we take as we try to save those six lives which, as far as we have been told by the high, they shouldn’t have turned off, or rather, turned on, so soon. A wrong choice, in fact, could preclude us from a positive outcome, even if there are different ways to save the inhabitants and different possible futures for each one, in a title that promises a great number of endings and a lot of satisfactions, as long as you appreciate the formula and endure technical modesty.

Technical sector


Even the house in which the title is set alone tells us a lot about the characters of Eternal Threads
Even the house in which the title is set alone tells us a lot about the characters of Eternal Threads

Made of choices, Eternal Threads promises a lot of variables as well numerous endings, running as a highly replayable title. But in pursuing such a high narrative complexity, there is the inevitable risk that not everything, due to the rhythm or quality of the narrative, fits together as best as possible. Having said that, during our test, the interest has always remained high, even during less stimulating events than others and also in front of a technical sector lacking in several points of view.

The main gameplay, we have said, concerns choices and related consequences, but we would not have disdained something more stimulating from the point of view ofexploration. On the contrary, we simply find ourselves wandering around the house in search of clues, holding an Alien-style radar that allows us to instantly find the point where something interesting happens in a given event. Nothing exciting, therefore, thanks to a visual sector that does not help.


One of the first choices we are called to make in Eternal Threads
One of the first choices we are called to make in Eternal Threads

Let’s leave out the inevitable bugs and glitches, given that we are talking about a version of the game still to be cleaned up, but we can spend a few words on graphics engine and on assets, both able to actually take us back to the past and not in the way the title of Cosmonaut Studios intends. In fact, we are talking about a graphic design prior to PS4 and Xbox, far from improved by a generic and not particularly inspired style from an aesthetic point of view.

The narrative side, however, is not excessively affected. The concept is intriguing, the soundtrack limited but functional and the atmosphere holds. This is also thanks to the large number of conversations dubbed rather well, but only in English, and to the tons of carefully crafted clues. In fact, they are not lost in kilometers of useless text, but they still contain all the information necessary to involve us and at the same time give us ideas to understand the characters. Nonetheless, some effort is required. Between relatives, friends, suitors and details, the amount of information to be examined is massive and this, combined with the huge number of choices, can be confusing. However, it also gives depth to a title that, despite its technical modesty, could give a lot satisfactions for lovers of crossroads adventures.

Eternal Threads is an interesting title, as modest from a technical point of view as it is ambitious from a narrative point of view. On the one hand it is satisfied with a limited technical sector and an uninspired aesthetic, but on the other hand it puts the player in front of a huge puzzle full of choices that could give a lot of satisfaction to lovers of graphic adventures.

CERTAINTIES

  • An all-round adventure for lovers of time travel
  • Intriguing concept
  • The atmosphere isn’t bad

DOUBTS

  • Technically limited
  • Very uninspired graphics
  • No adaptation in Italian

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