Review Barren Lab
Help Joe escape Barren Lab
Author: Brandon Girod
Date: 29 Nov 2017, tested on HTC One M8
Crisp sound effects
Janky controls, poor pacing, boring puzzle design
Meet Joe. Joe has lost something something in the dark and mysterious Barren Lab that he hopes to find again. In Barren Lab for Android, you’ll guide Joe through the lab, discovering its deepest secrets as you explore the world and solve puzzles.
About ten minutes into this game, I found myself wondering what exactly it was that I was doing. The tutorial is long and drawn out, and I don’t mean in a redundant way, though it’s that, too. I mean it has you walking for 30 seconds or longer just to walk. Just to do whatever it is that it wants you to do. Little did I know that the tutorial was just a precursor of what was to come. This is a game full of a lot of walking and weird puzzles.
The game is much more walking simulator and platformer than anything else, and a bad one at that. The controls don’t feel very responsive and movement felt a bit janky. In fact, early on in the game, I managed to get my pet rat stuck in the ceiling after jumping off a pipe and had to restart the game because it was just stuck there. The puzzles were okay, but mostly involved switching back and forth between controlling Joe and his pets. There was nothing truly “meaty” about the mechanics.
Barren Lab has a great aesthetic but the pacing is just so off that it ruins the entire experience. Couple that with the poor controls and the lackluster puzzles and you have a game that’s pretty mediocre over all.