NaissanceE

Game review by
David Wolinsky, Common Sense Media
NaissanceE Game Poster Image
Surreal exploration of claustrophobia and confusion.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Patience, open-mindedness encouraged.

Positive Role Models & Representations

There aren't really characters in this game, save for wandering light sources that react to your movements. 

Ease of Play

Controls are minimal, straightforward, but navigating the world itself can be confusing. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that NaissanceE is a downloadable first-person puzzle game. That means you try to progress by paying attention to an environment you walk through. This game takes place in a surreal world (mostly black and white), and a lot of patience is required to first get your bearings and then learn how the world works. Players will be disoriented fairly steadily, so younger kids without the patience to handle being caught off guard and retrying puzzles will probably be frustrated.

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What's it about?

This might sound strange, but there really isn't a story to NAISSANCEE. It's not like older video games, where the point is to press a button and then start running toward your goal on the right. There's no flag pole here or obvious MacGuffin; the objective is to understand what's happened to the world around you. And it's certainly a strange world: It's stark black and white, with lightness and darkness around you, ducts, tunnels, and detours, and a lot of it is disorienting. Floors unexpectedly have trap doors that you might have been able to spot with a passing light source. All of it is meant to keep you on your toes, figuring out not only what happened but what the world is. Is it a machine? An alien planet? You'll find out.

Is it any good?

This is a funky ride that's very strange, and though it's a welcome change of pace from most first-person puzzle games, it also can be very confusing. It's not quiet or brimming with personality that smacks you in the face. It's understated, and perhaps too much so. Prepare to be confused for a long time about where to go, how to solve the puzzles in each space, and what the puzzles around you even are. Most of them boil down to trial-and-error jumping around expansive spaces, while others necessitate switches to be thrown in specific orders. Jumping puzzles are typically problematic in first-person games, and that's no exception here -- frankly it can be tedious in spaces as large as this one. 

Later, the game gets even more ambitious in terms of spaces that open up to you and the amount of pressure it puts on you. What was a more patient exploration suddenly drills into you a sense of urgency and escape -- and if you don't keep moving and find your way on to the next area, you die. Whether it's "good" or not is completely subjective, because clearly NaissanceE wants to explore the different types of games it can be as much as it encourages you to wander around its spaces. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but it's always fairly interesting, if not also confounding. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about confusion. What's something that doesn't make sense to you and never really has? 

  • What's the strangest place you've ever been? Why? 

Game details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love puzzles

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