We're introduced first to Madeleine Stone, a disgraced doctor trying to make a comeback. Dr. Stone's story begins with being offered an extensive interview with The Assembly. As a result, she is given puzzles to complete throughout her campaign in order for The Assembly to decide if she's worthy of letting into the secret club. Madeleine's back-story seems a little vague, but you get the gist of why she's been recruited within the first moments of the game. In the second chapter of the game, we're introduced to Doctor Caleb Pearson, a rogue scientist trying not only to bring down the whole darn facility but also escape with his life while doing so. While playing as Cal (as he's affectionately known throughout the game) your main goal is to capture evidence from emails, tape recordings, and secret files, in order to prove that The Assembly is doing some seriously shady stuff. Cal's back-story is somewhat established, and you get a sense of why he's hellbent on throwing a monkey wrench into The Assembly's plans almost immediately.
While a couple of Dr. Stone's puzzles are intriguing, I must say I enjoyed playing as Cal a bit more. Outside of a murder mystery puzzle, and a couple of thought-provoking choices at the end of the game, I just couldn't connect to Dr. Stone. That's not to say there isn't merit to her story, I just felt that more time might be needed to fill in some remaining questions I have about her history. I have remaining questions about Cal as well, but I found myself more intrigued with his character arc. Maybe I'm just a sucker for digging through files and uncovering the truth though.
Thankfully, the game's art design, somber soundtrack, and inspired voice acting help immerse you while you dig through those files looking for evidence of the evil-doings. Having the game set in a secret laboratory seemingly carved right inside or underneath a mountain certainly lends to the atmosphere, and with the exception of some character models, the graphics stay sharp throughout the story. Technically, I found little to complain about within The Assembly. Barring a few hitches here and there, it's a solid port.
While I enjoyed the little things the game has to offer, my main complaint with The Assembly is the story itself, and I couldn't help but shake the feeling that there could have been so much more to explore and learn about The Assembly's history. As I mentioned previously, there are some interesting decisions to make close to the end of the game, but not much came of the choices I made, and when the credits began to roll I felt a tad unsatisfied. That's not to say you shouldn't pick this game up. I enjoyed my time with The Assembly. Its overall production is solid, it looks great, and the sound design is impressive. I feel like at its price point it's worth a download if you have an afternoon to kill and want to get some super sleuthing into your life.
*Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purposes of the review
Final Score: 7/10
+ Great atmosphere. + Technically sound.
+ Intriguing premise.
- The overall story leaves
something to be desired.