It's all a matter of perspective in THE IMPOSSIBLE


Breaking expectations and the 4th wall

Worry not, THE IMPOSSIBLE is assuredly quite possible, though its self-aware A.I. does not want you to think so. Your task is to navigate thirty some-odd M.C. Escheresque figures while being repeatedly obstructed by a sentient program with the voice of GLaDOS. It's got style in spades with its meta commentary, which should delight fans of 4th wall smashing narratives, though the experience unfortunately lasts little more than half an hour at present.

Note the date of this review, since the store page promises more stages and a level editor. Certain contents of this critique, therefore, may become obsolete.

✅ Witty writing
✅ Immersive audio & backing tracks
✅ Moderately challenging puzzles
✅ Clever use of 4th wall breaking "hacks"

❌ Very short
❌ Clunky controls on KB & mouse
❌ Frequent dead ends due to invisible edges in overlapping areas
❌ Horror fans looking to be spooked may be disappointed in the lack of scares

Not much is explained about THE IMPOSSIBLE's setting, other than that it's your job to solve puzzles while an A.I. comments on your progress. You'll be told to "follow the rules to earn steam achievements," though none are ever truly spelled out. But that matters not, as you'll learn by doing, which primarily entails moving a block across impossible geometry to a marked end point.

You'll encounter intentional glitches, screen flashes, and lag as your omnipresent companion attempts to prevent your completion, all the while asking you a haunting rhetorical question: "If you complete me, will you delete me?" Paired with dissonant music straight out of a horror movie, it absolutely will make your hair stand on end. The atmosphere is perfect, but never follows through with its buildup: No jump scares, no climactic resolution. There's even a point when the app says it's reading your steam library, so I was expecting to be startled by pointed critiques, but none such ever came.

One other point of criticism is its control scheme. It appears the game was optimized for a gamepad, because it makes abundant use of diagonal directions. These don't translate as well on keyboard, which requires holding two arrows at once. When you need to make a number of quick directional changes, you'll likely encounter a stuck block as you didn't quite time the press perfectly. If you use a mouse, you're required to click and drag, and this is a lot slower, and more frustrating, to precisely perform. At the bottom of the screen is a handy navigational guide revealing available directions, so why couldn't the game have allowed you to click the arrows instead? Ultimately, the keyboard is best choice for rapid and intuitive movement, albeit occasionally uncooperative.

As it stands, IMPOSSIBLE is still a worthwhile experience in its current state. Pending the store page's promised additions, it may become an even better value. Recommended for puzzle game fans, though horror fans should taper their expectations.

Disclaimer: This review was not endorsed in any way. A copy was provided by the developer.

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