Scorn Preview & Gameplay

Scorn fumbles between “intriguingly disturbing” and “willfully  grotesque.” After playing the game for about an hour – its tutorial-free  opening section – I’m introduced to a truly unpleasant biotechnological  setting, shown how its many opaque puzzles will link together to create  a neat line of wordless storytelling, and gently repulsed by it  sometimes pushing beyond its Giger-inspired fleshscape into less  impressive straight body horror.

Scorn’s core is its puzzles. Although it’s played from the perspective  of a first-person shooter, and occasionally offers weapons, this is a  cerebral game.

The game opens with the mysterious main character literally pulling  themselves out of a seemingly living landscape, but there is no  on-screen indication of what to do or how anything works, so you have to  trudge through the gently undulating corridors of its world,  occasionally trying out horrible contraptions.

Scorn’s self-directed approach works well. It doesn’t take long for you  to be given (well, violently implanted with) equipment that allows you  to manipulate biotech machinery, leaving you to figure out what the heck  it’s for.

After that, the player is pulled to a single puzzle – unlock this big  door – which you gradually realize is made up of multiple smaller  puzzles.

One puzzle about retrieving an egg from a wall is actually a sliding  puzzle disguised as a huge, disgusting egg) to the truly bizarre (one  section involved destroying floating, steam-spilling machines in an  attempt to… feed an enormous column with what seemed like an abattoir  bolt gun).