User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 209 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 16 out of 209
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  1. KentB
    May 23, 2009
    8
    Penumbra is sucha good game. You really have to think befor you act. The puzzles are very hard in my opinion but its that what makes the whole game fun. At first I thought this was just some "click´n click" game. But I was wrong. You face alot of scary things. Light sudenly turns off and you hear voices and alot of other creepy things. For people whole like abit of clickin´ Penumbra is sucha good game. You really have to think befor you act. The puzzles are very hard in my opinion but its that what makes the whole game fun. At first I thought this was just some "click´n click" game. But I was wrong. You face alot of scary things. Light sudenly turns off and you hear voices and alot of other creepy things. For people whole like abit of clickin´ and horror game this whould be it. Grapichs are great. Expand
  2. Jan 28, 2014
    4
    For its time this game may have been of quality...I can't say. I'm playing it in 2013/2014 and finding it lacking. The dogs (the primary antagonists) don't provide the appropriate tension. They're boring and binary...you kill them or they kill you and you try again (or you just run past them). They're a horror mechanic gone wrong. The rest of the game is clunky, big on "mystery" but smallFor its time this game may have been of quality...I can't say. I'm playing it in 2013/2014 and finding it lacking. The dogs (the primary antagonists) don't provide the appropriate tension. They're boring and binary...you kill them or they kill you and you try again (or you just run past them). They're a horror mechanic gone wrong. The rest of the game is clunky, big on "mystery" but small on "experience" or even "wonder".

    All in all...I played 3/4 to 7/8 of this game and didn't want to bother finishing. I used walkthroughs to get to the end, and it wasn't satisfying at all (would have been more frustrating without walkthroughs).

    I do plan to play the later editions in the series though. It was compelling and interesting if outdated and flawed. I'll have to see (and probably review) how the next iterations go.
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  3. LeeW
    Aug 21, 2009
    10
    Penumbra: Overture begins an amazing series of video games that, though short-lived, and with some shortcomings, provides some of the most immersive atmosphere, some of the greatest writing, and the absolute best horror ever in a video game. I'm not scared by anything unless it's a real-life situation threatening the life of either me or one or more of my loved ones, and even if Penumbra: Overture begins an amazing series of video games that, though short-lived, and with some shortcomings, provides some of the most immersive atmosphere, some of the greatest writing, and the absolute best horror ever in a video game. I'm not scared by anything unless it's a real-life situation threatening the life of either me or one or more of my loved ones, and even if it were me, I'd probably still act pretty smug. Penumbra: Overture, however, is the first game to ever scare me, and shitless at that. What the developers did and did correctly is that amazing sense of vulnerability, that, with the help of controls that allow you to lean around corners, makes you not want to lean around corners to see what evil awaits. The greatest thing is that there aren't any technological modifications to the game to make the player feel vulnerable, such as Dead Space's sluggish controls and camera angle. There is a deficiency in the ability to use weapons, which had many FPS-crazies with their nuts in a knot, but this, however, was justified by the developers by the fact that you're a skinny English professor and probably can't wield a pickaxe for shit. The weapons in the game were designed to be used as a last resort and the player's main defense should be to hide in the shadows. I will not lie that it can be very buggy for some people, but for a group of four people, their tech support is amazingly reliable at their forums. Buy the whole package on Steam or something. It's amazingly cheap and while a bit short, it is an experience you will not soon forget. Expand
  4. Aug 27, 2010
    7
    I played through Penumbra Overture in the middle of the night at a friend. We both completed it that night and helped each other with puzzles etc. That was a perfect way of playing it since we had 2 brains and we didn't freak out since we weren't alone. We played Black Plague with the same effect. To the actual review:
    This game is definitely worth playing if you like horror titles.
    I played through Penumbra Overture in the middle of the night at a friend. We both completed it that night and helped each other with puzzles etc. That was a perfect way of playing it since we had 2 brains and we didn't freak out since we weren't alone. We played Black Plague with the same effect. To the actual review:
    This game is definitely worth playing if you like horror titles. There's a special horror in this game, not at all as in F.E.A.R where you feel safe in that armor of yours. This horror gets in your brain and scares you in a psychological way which is freaky. I'm seeing it as a life achievement completing this game.
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  5. Nov 4, 2015
    8
    Played all three parts. Can definitely say - this game is not for anybody or anytime. You really need to be in the right mood and dedicate proper amount of time to engage fully into the atmosphere of the setting - and that is what this game is all about - atmosphere! You creep in darkness, discover pages of someone's diaries written in the style of H.P. Lovecraft, explore mysteriousPlayed all three parts. Can definitely say - this game is not for anybody or anytime. You really need to be in the right mood and dedicate proper amount of time to engage fully into the atmosphere of the setting - and that is what this game is all about - atmosphere! You creep in darkness, discover pages of someone's diaries written in the style of H.P. Lovecraft, explore mysterious forsaken mines, and holding your breath brave the next corner while crapping your pants at every screech you hear! Awesomeness of horror! :)) Expand
  6. Dec 13, 2012
    7
    Builds a great sense of horror through simple design choices; no weapons, complete isolation, and immersive atmosphere. A survival horror game that requires a lot of forethought and skill to actually survive. Very unique experience with great puzzles and a story that continues straight into the sequel, Black Plague. If you're looking for something to scare your pants off for a few eveningsBuilds a great sense of horror through simple design choices; no weapons, complete isolation, and immersive atmosphere. A survival horror game that requires a lot of forethought and skill to actually survive. Very unique experience with great puzzles and a story that continues straight into the sequel, Black Plague. If you're looking for something to scare your pants off for a few evenings then this and it's sequels are worth getting. Expand
  7. Apr 17, 2013
    8
    Not quite as good as the series' successor, Amnesia, Penumbra: Overture is still a worthy horror title. The atmosphere was spot on and there were a few genuinely frightening moments. The story too was enticing, if a little bit uninspired.
    I wasn't really a big fan of the monsters, at least the dogs which looked like some kind of halloween pinata and the spiders which looked equally as
    Not quite as good as the series' successor, Amnesia, Penumbra: Overture is still a worthy horror title. The atmosphere was spot on and there were a few genuinely frightening moments. The story too was enticing, if a little bit uninspired.
    I wasn't really a big fan of the monsters, at least the dogs which looked like some kind of halloween pinata and the spiders which looked equally as comical, but it could have been worse. I didn't mind the combat as much as most people, but I understand that what they were trying to do with it ultimately failed.
    The goal, obviously, was to make the combat cumbersome and difficult to make encounters all the more frightening, but unfortunately it just came off as frustrating and tedious. Luckily the developers took this on board and removed it completely from the next title.
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  8. Jul 30, 2011
    10
    This game was awesome. Truly one of the best horrors out there. Great story, great gameplay, and the ending leaves you wanting to play Black Plague right away.
  9. Jun 13, 2012
    7
    I originally only bought this game as a DLC of sorts after playing Amnesia: The Dark Descent and, while this is a great game, barely holds a candle to Amnesia: The Dark Descent's spooky, dark gameplay. One thing this game does excel in is puzzles! A lot of puzzles! I bought this game for atmospheric mood and drama (Which I easily got) but puzzles sometimes ruined immersion as there wereI originally only bought this game as a DLC of sorts after playing Amnesia: The Dark Descent and, while this is a great game, barely holds a candle to Amnesia: The Dark Descent's spooky, dark gameplay. One thing this game does excel in is puzzles! A lot of puzzles! I bought this game for atmospheric mood and drama (Which I easily got) but puzzles sometimes ruined immersion as there were almost too many so, in conclusion, if you want a dark, atmospheric mood alongside many puzzles get this game though you may not enjoy it if you've played Amnesia: The dark Descent before this! Expand
  10. BastianV.
    Aug 22, 2007
    10
    Penumbra is just different than anything you've seen before! This alone makes it a MUST-HAVE. But it comes even better, Penumbra is well designed, it has good graphics and balanced gameplay. I would throw away all these so called AAA titles for it!
  11. Oct 2, 2011
    5
    This is a game that I really, really want to like. It has a very interesting setting, and it does a fairly good job of establishing a feeling of extreme isolation in a long-abandoned facility, buried beneath a frozen and remote corner of the earth. I also really want to like the game for its eerie use of the glowstick/flashlight mechanics, ensuring that you are always just blind enough toThis is a game that I really, really want to like. It has a very interesting setting, and it does a fairly good job of establishing a feeling of extreme isolation in a long-abandoned facility, buried beneath a frozen and remote corner of the earth. I also really want to like the game for its eerie use of the glowstick/flashlight mechanics, ensuring that you are always just blind enough to be slightly creeped out by the dark. HOWEVER. All of that being said, I did not find this game "scary" in the least. It certainly makes you nervous, but not due to any well-established feeling of horror or the unknown. All of the stress in the game comes from hearing a "monster" (i.e., an ordinary wolf) prowling in the caves and knowing that the combat mechanic is so god awful that if you get spotted you might actually have to use the retarded thing. (Seriously. It's pretty bad.) The game is a bit more scary at first, when you're sneaking through the dark, unsure of what might be hiding there. But once you play for a while and realize that it's nothing but wolf, wolf, another wolf, and a wolf again, the fear of the unknown is gone and all you're left with is a series of very clunky memorize-the-patrol-pattern situations. Despite the fact that I did not find the stealth nor the combat fun, and despite the fact that the game did not feel scary to me, I continued to play it, because I enjoyed unlocking the mystery of the setting, and I enjoyed solving the puzzles. But the longer I played, the less intuitive the game became, putting me in situations where I would die repeatedly for failing to identify and solve problems at a frenetic pace. The game is also peppered with bugs and clipping problems. Eventually, tonight, after playing the game for an hour, a hallway inexplicably dropped me through the floor. I didn't/couldn't die, which would have restarted me at the last checkpoint or the door of the current room. All I could do was reload the last manual save at an artefact, which lost all of my progress. I would say give the game a try if you can get it for CHEAP. This game is definitely going to be enjoyable for the right kind of person, looking for a particular atmospheric experience, willing to overlook the game's almost constant imperfections---if not outright brokenness. I am just not one of those people. I can see how it could be fun to someone, but I just did not have fun playing it. Expand
  12. Jun 21, 2012
    7
    Having played Amnesia and being terrified witless, I decided to buy Frictional's first foray into Survival horror, and first game ever. First, the positives. It's very atmospheric; the environments are creepy & unnerving and the first encounter with an enemy is unforgettable. Certain plot elements are well done and the character of Red is memorable. The physics system is just as clever asHaving played Amnesia and being terrified witless, I decided to buy Frictional's first foray into Survival horror, and first game ever. First, the positives. It's very atmospheric; the environments are creepy & unnerving and the first encounter with an enemy is unforgettable. Certain plot elements are well done and the character of Red is memorable. The physics system is just as clever as ever, perhaps even more so than Amnesia thanks to the more grounded setting and difficulty in using doors. Negatives: combat. The problem with the combat isn't that it's sticky or useless, it's because it's there! Something that's scary loses its sting when you can kill it, and fighting in this game you will inevitably find the exploit to easily deal with any enemy you encounter. The plot also relies too much on written notes and your character pointing out the obvious. I wish FG would decide if they want Phillip to be a silent protagonist or not: he goes through a long monologue at the beginning and then seems to lose his voice once the game begins, even when a particular character tries to contact him he still says nothing. Overall though, I liked Overture, and if you're looking for a good spook then I definitely recommend it. Expand
  13. May 18, 2012
    3
    Most survival-horror games try to increase the tension by having you play a character a bit less powerful than your average steroid-using, armed-to-the-teeth action hero, but with Penumbra, Frictional have gone too far and forced you to play as someone apparently suffering from serious mental and physical disabilities. The protagonist is, for example, only ever capable of doing one thingMost survival-horror games try to increase the tension by having you play a character a bit less powerful than your average steroid-using, armed-to-the-teeth action hero, but with Penumbra, Frictional have gone too far and forced you to play as someone apparently suffering from serious mental and physical disabilities. The protagonist is, for example, only ever capable of doing one thing at a time. Say you want to pick up a chair or similar debris to barricade a door. Doing so reduces your movement speed to a crawl, and makes you unable to jump. The same applies to virtually ever object bigger than about 15 cube inches. I'm pretty sure that in real life, I could lift a rock the size of an ostrich egg without having to drag it behind me at snail's pace. None of this is helped by the awkward interface or the broken physics engine. To interact with something, you click on it and move the mouse, so, for instance, to open a desk draw, you'd click on it and pull the mouse back to pull it open. It's pretty cool when it works, but it doesn't always, because obviously the game is 3D and the mouse plane isn't, so having the same control for 'move down' and 'move back' can be frustrating at times. As well as thinking everything it 4 times heavier than it should be, the physics engine clearly uses a lot of shortcuts: take the example near the start where the game tells you to barricade a door: regardless of whether you haphazardly left a single chair in front of it or spent a couple of minutes stacking up barrels, the door and everything in front of it just explodes after a certain amount of time. The whole thing leaves you wondering why the game bothered to tell you to barricade the door when just running away has largely the same result. This brings me to the other option: combat. Say you have a pickaxe. To use it like a weapon, you have to interact with it in the same way as any other item; i.e. click, then move the mouse forward to raise it, pull it back to bring it down. I'm trying not to stray into hyperbole here, but this is seriously retarded. I know the point of survival horror games is that you're not supposed to have an easy time in combat, but not being able to look around is beyond frustrating, especially when you're fighting zombie wolves (the first enemies of the game) which have a habit of jumping through you when they attack. Since you die in only three hits, if you miss then by the time you've turned around and readied for another swing of your weapon, you're already dead. Of course, you can usually avoid combat. What you can't avoid, however, are the asinine 'puzzles' the game throws at you. At one point, you need a 4-digit keycode to get to the next area. The code can be heard in morse code at a radio set. You'd think there might be a leaflet or a poster lying around somewhere in the game area explaining how to decipher morse code, but no. Frictional apparently expected players to just know morse code off the top of their heads. Since I didn't work on a boat in the 1920s, this just leads to an unsatisfying check of the nearest walkthrough. There's another part close to that where you need to get through a door which is barred with a plank of wood. The door is made from iron bars, so quite why exactly you can't just reach through the bars and lift the bar up, I don't know. Also, this is a point in the game where you have the aforementioned pickaxe, which you'd think could just smash this tiny plank. Nope. In fact, it's even immune to sticks of dynamite. So what you have to do is find the one rusty hacksaw in this enormous basement, which begs the question: why not just make so I had to find a key, rather than looking stupid with invincible planks of wood? Then, to get to the next part after that, you have to jump onto a ladder. Somehow, even this becomes a chore when this imbecile you're playing as won't grab on and is for some reason damaged by the 2-and-a-half foot drop when he misses. The next area is where I just gave up on the game: you're crawling around these cramped tunnels that are full of spider eggs, which can apparently sense when someone walks past 15 feet away and instantly hatch. Much like the wolves, they have a tendency to jump through you and kill you in three hits, but this time they're far too numerous, small and fast to try hitting them with a weapon, so you have to shine your torch on them. The problem is, they're a bit slow off the mark, so if one of them is too close when you do that, it'll jump through you, and then there is nothing you can do to avoid dying. You're supposed to block off sections of the tunnel using conveniently shaped rocks, but trying to move boulders around slows you down even more than usual when you're crouched in a tunnel, so you more often than not end up being eaten while dragging them around. Eventually I just gave up in exasperation at this dissappointing, broken game. Expand
  14. Oct 20, 2011
    6
    This game was a complete failure for me, it wasnt scary, just a bunch of dogs and spiders in an abandon underground facility, but i found the game entertaining for a couple of hours. Also very nice scenarios and puzzles.
  15. NoahS.
    Jun 7, 2009
    3
    Luckily, I bought this on Steam for 5.00 last night. Looks promising, but I have played it for about 5 minutes and it's rife with clipping issues and un-intuitive play. I'm going to give it another chance, as I see other reviewers have thought better of it than my first impression. There's nothing I like better than a good horror/survival game, even though this one has the Luckily, I bought this on Steam for 5.00 last night. Looks promising, but I have played it for about 5 minutes and it's rife with clipping issues and un-intuitive play. I'm going to give it another chance, as I see other reviewers have thought better of it than my first impression. There's nothing I like better than a good horror/survival game, even though this one has the ever-present Lovecraft references and familiar, hackneyed plot. 1-sided textures in a game and my flashlight not illuminating the crawlspace I am in almost lowered my SAN score immediately... I'll cross my fingers, do a little Voorish sign, and hope I can find the good things other posters have mentioned. Expand
  16. Jan 22, 2012
    6
    To be honest, Penumbra: Overture is a brilliant horror game. The first time I saw a wolf, I panicked and thought to myself "WTF IS THAT THING?!" But after a while I noticed the plotline made no sense. Firstoff, after playing the later games the plot seemed to deviate more and more from the direction it originally headed: Finding your missing dad. Tons of the plot was left unexplained andTo be honest, Penumbra: Overture is a brilliant horror game. The first time I saw a wolf, I panicked and thought to myself "WTF IS THAT THING?!" But after a while I noticed the plotline made no sense. Firstoff, after playing the later games the plot seemed to deviate more and more from the direction it originally headed: Finding your missing dad. Tons of the plot was left unexplained and I was really confused. Firstoff, the origins of these Foobar wolves was never explained. I guess they're like, turngait daemons or something... Secondly, making the player able to kill the enemies was, honestly, a bad idea. The wolves just aren't as scary when I can stand on a catwalk and toss propane tanks and rocks at them and they die. Another thing that I ran into that really annoyed me was that when I was searching for a cure for Clarence, I just found a bunch of items and tossed them into the machine. Later I came across the women who tells you how to make the cure, and now I had no way to make the cure. I literally had to start the game from my last save behind that, almost 3 hours ago. I know I'm judging the game by it's sequel, but I don't really care. Buy the first one for a thrill, and stop there. Wiki the plotline and go back to your life. Black Plague and Requiem aren't worth it. Expand
  17. Jan 6, 2014
    7
    A decent game with an intuitive control scheme, but a little bit lacking in its visuals and a clunky combat system that didn't quite work. While sound effects were used to great effect to instil terror, some of them just sound unrealistic and mediocre. Besides from all that, every other aspect of Penumbra: Overture is fairly solid. The atmosphere in particular was quite immersive and theA decent game with an intuitive control scheme, but a little bit lacking in its visuals and a clunky combat system that didn't quite work. While sound effects were used to great effect to instil terror, some of them just sound unrealistic and mediocre. Besides from all that, every other aspect of Penumbra: Overture is fairly solid. The atmosphere in particular was quite immersive and the puzzles were implemented well for the most part. Expand
  18. Aug 26, 2014
    9
    My favorite horror game ever made.
    ...................................................................................................................
  19. Jul 25, 2013
    7
    This game was very interesting. I loved the atmosphere's and how the game played out. You'll find yourself backtracking some, but not enough to be a nuisance. The worst part of the game is the combat. It's very clunky and I found myself raging for quite a bit until I learned certain tricks for certain mobs (no spoilers here.) I picked up all three games in a steam sale some time ago andThis game was very interesting. I loved the atmosphere's and how the game played out. You'll find yourself backtracking some, but not enough to be a nuisance. The worst part of the game is the combat. It's very clunky and I found myself raging for quite a bit until I learned certain tricks for certain mobs (no spoilers here.) I picked up all three games in a steam sale some time ago and have just recently played them.
    I'm very glad I did. I actually read each piece of lore/journal/note that I found and became engrossed in the story.

    If you're looking for an adventure game, then try this one out, the controls take some getting used to, but once you do you'll find their very intuitive and clever.
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  20. Apr 8, 2015
    8
    Penumbra Overture was one of the best things to come out of Pewdiepie. Anyhow, after saying **** like that let me go on with the review.

    So of course a lot like anyone else who knows about Frictional Games, the first one I came to now about was Amnesia: The Dark Decent. Not from pewdiepie, the obvious place to have heard about it from. I found out a bit later that they had an already
    Penumbra Overture was one of the best things to come out of Pewdiepie. Anyhow, after saying **** like that let me go on with the review.

    So of course a lot like anyone else who knows about Frictional Games, the first one I came to now about was Amnesia: The Dark Decent. Not from pewdiepie, the obvious place to have heard about it from. I found out a bit later that they had an already other established series titled Penumbra. I bought Penumbra: Overtue a long while before I ever had the bravery to go near Amnesia, and so with it came my first ever REAL adventure into survival horror.

    The game spooked the ever loving **** out of me, but the good thing about it was, that I was actually eased into the settings of Fritcionals games by it. It was really scary yes, however, I was able to push forward almost always and never got to the point where I simply couldn't move forward from my fear. The game looks really good for what is technically a indie title, and the sound design is PERFECT for the setting, mechanical, yet some how creepy and off putting. The story is also a strong part of Overture, intentionally confusing and not completely filled in, yet enough information if given for there to be a real deep understanding of what you want to know over what is going on, and why the place you are in is in the state that it is. The game does a great job of making you feel isolated. And because of this, you really end up liking the character of Red, the only survivor down in the tunnels with you. Overall, Overture is an under appreciated game that deserves all the under rated credit that it gets. I absolutely loved it, and it only goes up from here.
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  21. Aug 21, 2020
    0
    Ils ont fait un effort, dis donc: un jeu d'aventure tout en 3D avec des textures et tout et tout... en vue subjective en plus ! ça se veut horrifique mais c'est juste chiant et tout là-dedans est si mal fait qu'on arrive pas à croire que tout soit aussi mal fait... à part les graphismes tout-à-fait potables quand même.

    Mais tout le reste... ça reste un jeu d'aventure à la
    Ils ont fait un effort, dis donc: un jeu d'aventure tout en 3D avec des textures et tout et tout... en vue subjective en plus ! ça se veut horrifique mais c'est juste chiant et tout là-dedans est si mal fait qu'on arrive pas à croire que tout soit aussi mal fait... à part les graphismes tout-à-fait potables quand même.

    Mais tout le reste... ça reste un jeu d'aventure à la mords-moi-le-noeud, scripté, dirigiste et chiant. L'interface est juste horrible et bien plus terrifiante que tout le jeu entier : une interface cauchemardesque boulottée par une bande d'incapables, oui ça fait vraiment peur...!

    Le personnage a deux de tension ou un peu moins, la moindre action est d'une pénibilité extrême ; m'est avis qu'il devrait partir en pré-pré-retraite dès maintenant parce que c'est trop pénible et lent d'ouvrir un tiroir... ou alors, il devrait arrêter le Prozac. Donc en résumé, ça m'a à moitié soûlé et à moitié endormi, car cette torpeur est contagieuse... de toute façon, j'ai pas trouvé le script suivant permettant d'avancer comme l'on décidé la bande d'incapables qui ont démoulé cet étron de jeu.

    J'ai trouvé la poubelle par contre et j'ai fait un panier avec le boîtier et le disque : du premier coup ! c'était la partie la plus amusante du jeu (avec la désinstallation).
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  22. Apr 1, 2017
    9
    9.4 - A very definitive game for the survival-horror genre. Although controls and environments are not the best, music and atmosphere is done excellently here. Probably one of the best games to do a eerie and gloomy level-design.
  23. scottd
    Jan 1, 2010
    8
    what penumbra: overtrue lacks in great gameplay and steller graphics it makes up for with bucket after bucket load of suspence and atmosphear, one of the only games i've actualy been AFRAID of.
  24. JoshS.
    Sep 24, 2006
    9
    For a freeware and created by an independent company, Penumbra is one achievement. It's maybe short, but the experience is quite memorable anyway. The ending is really dissapointing. If Penumbra got a full-scale sequel, I won't look anywhere. The engine itself are marvelous. Would be great if it utilized in other games.
  25. AlexK.
    May 3, 2007
    10
    This is a clever game with some very good innovations. I think it will have a lot of influence for all the new adventure games.
  26. MattL
    Jun 8, 2009
    9
    A good horror/suspense game. It's the first game I've played that has the opening sequence ask you to turn off the lights, and if you do, the game becomes a whole lot better. Interesting mix of physics puzzles, traditional adventure "find the item" and general confusion of "wtf is going on?" Excellent dialog as well. Cons: The "combat" interface is terrible (though I suspect it A good horror/suspense game. It's the first game I've played that has the opening sequence ask you to turn off the lights, and if you do, the game becomes a whole lot better. Interesting mix of physics puzzles, traditional adventure "find the item" and general confusion of "wtf is going on?" Excellent dialog as well. Cons: The "combat" interface is terrible (though I suspect it may be on purpose to encourage running rather than fighting) and a few of the puzzles are more repetitive than necessary. Overall, great game, especially at the $5 Steam price. Expand
  27. ByronH
    Jun 9, 2009
    5
    You could end up really hating this game, or getting into it and tearing straight through. The atmosphere is wonderful. You feel a real sense of isolation, and the ambient sound is excellent. What little music there is reminds me of Silent Hill's selections. The physics and lighting are wonderful, and, in fact, without those things, the visuals would be 1997-era. The monster You could end up really hating this game, or getting into it and tearing straight through. The atmosphere is wonderful. You feel a real sense of isolation, and the ambient sound is excellent. What little music there is reminds me of Silent Hill's selections. The physics and lighting are wonderful, and, in fact, without those things, the visuals would be 1997-era. The monster animations are not good at all, and are best left unseen. The good news is, you shouldn't be spending much time staring at the creatures. The overall darkness of the game hides its sins well, and, in fact, the brighter certain sections of the game are, the less interesting it becomes. The combat system has been mentioned before- it's effectively worthless, don't fight anything. On one level, I see this as an intentional design choice, but on the other, it seems like the game was altogether too tailored to the use of a Novint Falcon (but I wonder how much use even that would be!) It is so terrible that honestly I wish that the player had been left with no option to fight- it would have been far better for the game. Again, if you're doing it right, you shouldn't be fighting (I solved most fighting related situations by throwing things and running.) Even despite all of that, I haven't had so much fun with an adventure game since Zork Nemesis! It is strange to say that a game with so many problems is worthwhile, but if you really like adventure games, you will be able to look past them. If the adventure game mindset does not appeal to you, this game is not even worth 5 dollars on Steam. Expand
  28. MarkM
    Nov 2, 2009
    10
    This game is best Horror game i have ever played. A great Storyline, some really tough puzzles and overall wonderful atmosphere. A must buy!
  29. BrandonK
    Jun 9, 2009
    10
    I have been gaming for years, and nothing scares me. Movies, games, etc, it's all mundane and boring. Saying that, this game SCARES ME. The first time in years a game has made me feel like this. This alone is enough for the game to get a 10. However, the game play is very unique and unlike anything I have played. This game made me interested in adventure games again. Ignore the I have been gaming for years, and nothing scares me. Movies, games, etc, it's all mundane and boring. Saying that, this game SCARES ME. The first time in years a game has made me feel like this. This alone is enough for the game to get a 10. However, the game play is very unique and unlike anything I have played. This game made me interested in adventure games again. Ignore the reviews from people who have "played it 5 minutes" as they are clearly the type of people who shouldn't be playing adventure games in the first place. Expand
  30. CarlD
    Jul 27, 2009
    10
    I have been playing horror games, reading frightening novels and drawing some genuinely creepy stuff for many years now. For the longest time, I was convinced that nothing could ever scare me again unless it was real life or death situations. Then I played Penumbra. I'm not even halfway through the game yet and I have to say it is purely terrifying, thought provoking and a I have been playing horror games, reading frightening novels and drawing some genuinely creepy stuff for many years now. For the longest time, I was convinced that nothing could ever scare me again unless it was real life or death situations. Then I played Penumbra. I'm not even halfway through the game yet and I have to say it is purely terrifying, thought provoking and a challenging-but-not-impossible puzzle adventure game. Straight up the game only has two things going against it; the step-backwards graphics and the terribly clumsy combat system. The good heavily outweighs the bad, however. The game is practically in perpetual darkness the whole time so often the low-grade graphics are hidden well, and ironically the lighting in the game is incredible. As a puzzle/adventure game, it is certainly well done. It will challenge you to think, but it won't leave you going to an online walkthrough every five minutes. The clearest advantage this game has in the puzzle department is it's excellent physics engine, the HPL. Coincidence that those are the initials of H.P Lovecraft? I think not. But let's face it, what is the real reason we all got this game? To scare ourselves silly, and that's where this game really earns it's stars and stripes. This game had me spooked from the get-go. I was already feeling somewhat reluctant leaving the boat knowing the darkness that surely awaited me and man, was I right. This game is the first to ever have me scream "HOLY SHIT" at the top of my lungs. I play this game in small doses, so for me I'm not worried by the apparent shortness of the game. Really I don't know how you could play the game through one sitting and not be a jibbering wreck by the end of it. My advice to you on Penumbra? If you're a fan of horror or even just someone looking for a game that's more an experience then it is an action-thrill-fest, then get these games. Especially with the sales that mean you can bag them both for a mere 5 or ten dollars each. At that price even if somehow you don't like it, you will have not dug yourself a financial grave. Expand
  31. Dec 2, 2012
    7
    Unlike most games out there, Penumbra: Overture isn't exactly "packed to the brim" with content, but it's still pretty damn good. I played Amnesia: The Dark Descent before this one, and I still find Penumbra just as enjoyable. The writing is unarguably clever, and does nothing but add interest and atmosphere to the game while taking away absolutely nothing. The psychological and physicalUnlike most games out there, Penumbra: Overture isn't exactly "packed to the brim" with content, but it's still pretty damn good. I played Amnesia: The Dark Descent before this one, and I still find Penumbra just as enjoyable. The writing is unarguably clever, and does nothing but add interest and atmosphere to the game while taking away absolutely nothing. The psychological and physical horrors in this game are well done. The graphics are a bit simplistic and lazy, but don't do any damage to the game as a whole. The puzzles are well done. Even if you're a Halo/Mass Effect/Half-Life 2 kind of player, you still might find yourself loving the Penumbra series. Expand
  32. Dec 31, 2011
    7
    The atmosphere in Penumbra: Overture is great. It's dark, creepy, lonely, and cold. The physics engine is okay, with some flaws here and there, but nothing worth seriously complaining about. The moving of objects and melee actions can take getting used to, but once you're comfortable with the physics engine, it works okay, although far from perfectly. The game flows through the storyThe atmosphere in Penumbra: Overture is great. It's dark, creepy, lonely, and cold. The physics engine is okay, with some flaws here and there, but nothing worth seriously complaining about. The moving of objects and melee actions can take getting used to, but once you're comfortable with the physics engine, it works okay, although far from perfectly. The game flows through the story smoothly without any frustration or senseless puzzles/problems to be solved. Everything is logical and upfront, requiring a realistic approach and a reasonable amount of thinking to proceed. The save system is unfriendly. It seems to save your progress when you update your personal notes, or when you interact with a certain object within the game world, which the player has little control over when this occurs. This means that you will often have to do certain portions of the game over and over until you get it right. The voice acting is superb. The accent and tone are outstanding and adds to the storyline greatly. All of the texts you will encounter in the game are well written, interesting, and adds plenty to the plot. The controls can be awkward at times in order to accomplish some actions the game requires. Penumbra: Overture is not a scary horror game. Most of its interesting emotional influences on the player comes from the theme of being almost completely solitary in an unknown place that is far from civilization and darkness. There are some instances in the game that requires the rapid change of items in conjunction to platforming and running, which I had to do many times to get it right. There is also a surprising amount of platforming as a whole for a primarily adventure game. Some parts of Penumbra: Overture are really cool, there is no denying that, but it does have a feel of an unpolished low budget title. With that said, this is probably one of the best adventure games I have ever played. It is logical and tense at all the right moments. I am not entirely sure for how long the main character is inside the mine, but the glow stick lasts for the entire duration of the game. You are not forced nor expected to use the flashlight nor the flares, which have finite longevity. I found melee fighting to be clunky and awkward, but this did not detract from the overall gaming experience. The ending is very creepy and will keep you glued to the plot, even though there is much left without explanations. The only major downside is the game's length. It is somewhat short and leaves you with a feeling of unfinished business with a cliffhanger. It took me about 8 hours to complete. Expand
  33. Jul 21, 2012
    9
    just play this game and see for yourself story, gameplay, everything is good with this game but maybe too short but it's cheap and it's a trilogy I like it
  34. Nov 22, 2012
    8
    A great introduction into the Penumbra series, the game has very original puzzles to solve, especially the design of the various areas to explore was very diverse and well executed. To horror is mainly due to physical threats but the story unfolds mysteries as well and thus adds a new layer to the experience. Short but good game.
  35. May 25, 2016
    8
    Another wonderful gaming experience. (TL DR VERSION BELOW!)

    Penumbra: Overture is not properly a game as we are used to play, is more like an immersion into deep abyss of horror and mystery. This is to say you are not buying this game for his gameplay, his longevity or his action. If you played Amnesia, Soma or the other Penumbra you know what I'm meaning. If you don't, well think
    Another wonderful gaming experience. (TL DR VERSION BELOW!)

    Penumbra: Overture is not properly a game as we are used to play, is more like an immersion into deep abyss of horror and mystery.

    This is to say you are not buying this game for his gameplay, his longevity or his action.
    If you played Amnesia, Soma or the other Penumbra you know what I'm meaning. If you don't, well think twice before buying it even if the price is low.
    Those kind of game are not much appreciated by the average gamer who looks for a couple or more hour of FUN.
    When you buy Penumbra you want to live a different experience, a journey into mistery and creepy stuff.
    It's quite short, graphic are still ok in my opinion if you don't mind too much (you don't really have to if you are wishing to play this graphic are the least thing to mind)

    When you finish it you feel that feeling of satisfaction as you survived a 7hrs trip into this game.
    It's something games like Fallout,Skyrim or whatever call of duty or battlefield could never give to you. Even if they might be good games, they are nothing in terms of deepness and peculiarity.

    TL DR:

    PROS
    -Atmosphere, deepness, peculiarity, horror. You really are yourself as a normal human being would, trying to escape from a mine, you don't fight unless if really you have to (and you will die trying), you don't have superpower. Only your mind and your notes. That's it.

    CONS
    -Only English language, it's not a problem if you are reading this but there is a lot of stuff to read if you want to understand more the story, and even some dialogue with the only human (?) you "meet" are quite hard to follow because it's not a simple english. I really had some problems too as is not my mother tongue.
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  36. Sep 16, 2013
    8
    This is a worthy addition to the survival/horror genre with its clever storyline and puzzle-solving mechanics. Add to it the danger of monsters and an inventory system that entices you to explore every dark corner and you've got a solid game. I enjoyed Penumbra: Overture and would recommend it!
  37. Jan 30, 2014
    10
    Truly a masterpiece in horror gaming, Overture is full of quality atmosphere and genuine emotion. While Black Plague is better, Overture is a great first Penumbra game and deserves to live on.
  38. Mar 1, 2014
    9
    Some people say this is a copy of Amnesia, but that's not true. In fact, it's made by the same people, and even was made before Amnesia. Although, Amnesia is scarier, the Penumbra series is still a great series.

    The game has clever puzzles, interesting characters, and a great story. It may not be that scary, but it still keeps you on the edge of your seat. The atmosphere is pretty good
    Some people say this is a copy of Amnesia, but that's not true. In fact, it's made by the same people, and even was made before Amnesia. Although, Amnesia is scarier, the Penumbra series is still a great series.

    The game has clever puzzles, interesting characters, and a great story. It may not be that scary, but it still keeps you on the edge of your seat. The atmosphere is pretty good for a survival horror game, and area in which you can explore is pretty big. Overall, this game is pretty good, but what about the bad parts? Well, the game is short, the notes you collect through out the game can sometimes be a bit confusing, and the graphics aren't amazing. Although, for its time, the graphics aren't to bad. It's enough to live with, but not so bad that you'll quit playing the game instantly.
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  39. Jun 1, 2020
    9
    So easy to get immersed into. Great atmosphere, gripping mystery, wonderful voice acting and a soundtrack that sends chills through your bones with the very first note. Puzzles that aren't just running around fetching things, but require you to stop and think, maybe do some reading and make use of the brilliantly implemented physics.

    The beginning of something amazing.
  40. Aug 18, 2014
    8
    Ok, after so many years I was finally able to play the whole chapter. I am very sensitive to horror games....I was never able to go past the first level, I tried many times and I always stopped. Once I got used to the 'fear' system of the game, the game stopped being too scary for me and I started enjoying instead of seeing it as a torture (this is a message to the chicken people like meOk, after so many years I was finally able to play the whole chapter. I am very sensitive to horror games....I was never able to go past the first level, I tried many times and I always stopped. Once I got used to the 'fear' system of the game, the game stopped being too scary for me and I started enjoying instead of seeing it as a torture (this is a message to the chicken people like me who are scared by such games).

    Anyway, the game is cool enough. First of all, keep in mind that this is a Chapter. The game has no end, it is a cliffhanger ending so if you are one of those (like me) that hate unfinished things, keep in mind that even if you don't like the game so much, you will have to play all three chapters (overture, black plague, requiem) to see the end of the story.

    This chapter is quite short (6 hours are enough). Puzzles are nice, physics serve well that purpose. Graphically it is pleasant. Sounds is also still good enough for today's standards and controls are interesting. Can't say about the story because I have to play 2nd and 3rd chapter yet, but what can I say....so far so good ! 75/100
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  41. Dec 21, 2014
    10
    This game is incedible it's scary and the story is amazing. There are so many puzzels and thats a good thing. I rate this 10/10 because of the amazing story and how horrifying it is. It makes you want to play the sequal Black Plague right away.
  42. Apr 23, 2020
    7
    Поиграл в пенумбру уже после амнезии, поэтому на протяжении всей игры не отпускала мысль, что эта игра - ее черновик. Но мысль эта грубая. Есть какие-то пересечения, схожести, но игра совершенно другая по механике.
    Сюжет вполне интересный, но подача не такая сильная, как в той же амнезии. (простите за частые ссылки) например, главный герой практически не озвучен, информацию также мы
    Поиграл в пенумбру уже после амнезии, поэтому на протяжении всей игры не отпускала мысль, что эта игра - ее черновик. Но мысль эта грубая. Есть какие-то пересечения, схожести, но игра совершенно другая по механике.
    Сюжет вполне интересный, но подача не такая сильная, как в той же амнезии. (простите за частые ссылки) например, главный герой практически не озвучен, информацию также мы черпаем практически только из записок, пусть и не скучных; вот Рыжий на славу получился! Одним словом, это все на хорошем уровне.
    Играть тоже интересно, только наскучивает то, что где-то половину времени пришлось блуждать по каким-то большим локациям - у этого есть две проблемы, первая, наверное, не такая уж и проблема, скорее придирка, но вторая таковой безусловно является:
    1. На этих уровнях карты расположены в каком-то излишне большом количестве, отчего заплутать почти невозможно, порой они, грубо говоря, за каждым углом находятся.
    2. Собаки. Чёртовы собаки. Сначала они пугают, как без этого. Потом многие наверняка - я в их числе - ввязывались с ними в драку и обнаруживали эту кривую боевую систему. Хотя в ней даже есть шарм, на мой взгляд. Потом этих собак раскидывают по обширным уровням, отчего их быстро не пробежишь, если чертовка заметит, то выбирай: корявая, скучноватая драка или бежать прочь, зная, что собака бегает быстрее главного героя и убивает его с 3-4х ударов на среднем уровне сложности. Если не хочется бегать и драться, придется красться, что тоже очень скучно, потому что собаки привязаны к конкретному квадрату на местности, который довольно мал. И вот приходится ждать пока она отвернется или кинуть им мясо, что немного ускорит процесс.
    Ну и, к слову, фонарик абсолютно бесполезен, доставал его пару раз за игру.
    В целом интересно. Даже не знаю, порекомендовать ли идти сразу в амнезию или поиграть сначала в эту игру. Наверное, все таки в амнезию, а если та уж очень сильно понравится, то можно, но всё-таки не обязательно, поиграть в эту игру.
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  43. Jan 4, 2016
    8
    Lo que más me gusta de este juego es que se aleja de los tópicos de fantasmas y armas de fuego. Es un juego que te hace pasar miedo de verdad porque no llevas armas para defenderte, sólo un pico. Además tiene una historia que te intriga cada vez más. Recomendado si estás cansado de juegos de terror con munición de sobra y quieres pasar angustia.
  44. May 12, 2017
    4
    I really tried to finish this game but it ended up with rage quit. The reason of my rage against this game is, it has some stupid puzzles which that good horror-puzzle genre shouldn't have. In one of the late game puzzle you need to escape from the worm that chases you and at the same time you need to shut the door after you pass, turn the valve on to access the gate. You cannot open theI really tried to finish this game but it ended up with rage quit. The reason of my rage against this game is, it has some stupid puzzles which that good horror-puzzle genre shouldn't have. In one of the late game puzzle you need to escape from the worm that chases you and at the same time you need to shut the door after you pass, turn the valve on to access the gate. You cannot open the door fast enough no matter how fast you turn the handle. You need to solve the puzzle and it will opens so fast. I'm playing video games for 20 years and this is definitely annoying. Expand
  45. Feb 2, 2018
    8
    Penumbra: Overtureis great first-person horror/adventure game, it's very atmospheric and engaging.
    Horror part has almost no jumpscares at all, but still manages to frighten, despite 10+ years old visuals. Puzzles and inventory interactions are very simple and logical, items behave mostly like they do in real life. Although sometimes it feels like the game is lacking alternate solutions
    Penumbra: Overtureis great first-person horror/adventure game, it's very atmospheric and engaging.
    Horror part has almost no jumpscares at all, but still manages to frighten, despite 10+ years old visuals. Puzzles and inventory interactions are very simple and logical, items behave mostly like they do in real life. Although sometimes it feels like the game is lacking alternate solutions for issues (like you can break certain stuff only with a saw, when in real life it could easily be broken with hammer, etc.). Stealth part is a bit repetitive but it's short enough. The ending is a cliffhanger that encourages to play the second game in the series right away.
    Overall it's a great experience for fairly low price(game often comes in bundle with all Frictional games releases).
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  46. Nov 20, 2018
    6
    ENG RU
    It is interesting to play, to use the engine to work his way or to zapin doggie another barrel, there are uncomplicated puzzles that do not strain much, but it is nice to be solved, although sometimes not quite logical. I liked the map, on which everything is clearly visible and written, where you are and where you can go, slightly puzzled by the presence of signs that every 1-2
    ENG RU
    It is interesting to play, to use the engine to work his way or to zapin doggie another barrel, there are uncomplicated puzzles that do not strain much, but it is nice to be solved, although sometimes not quite logical. I liked the map, on which everything is clearly visible and written, where you are and where you can go, slightly puzzled by the presence of signs that every 1-2 meters, show the direction. At the expense of the enemy, is himself, they are repeated them here not so much, but it's better than any of the ghosts or the unknown **** that you stupid to escape. When I played, I thought that the game 2004-2005, but it was 07, in General, for the first experience of the developers is quite worthy. I do not like these endings as in this game, it is quite risky to do so, not to answer clearly the questions that arise during the passage and leave not clear ending, because it may happen that the continuation and will not work and the game will eventually be simply merged and have no weight, but everything worked out.
    Играется интересно, использовать возможности движка, чтобы проложить себе путь или запинать песика очередной бочкой, есть незамысловатые задачки, которые сильно не напрягают, но вполне приятно решаемые, хотя иногда и не совсем логичные. Понравилось карта, на которой все четко видно и написано, где ты и куда можно пойти, слегка озадачили наличие знаков, которые через каждые 1-2 метра, показывают направление. На счет врагов, такое себе, они повторяются их здесь не так много, но это лучше чем какие нибудь призраки или неведомая хрень, от которой нужно тупо убегать. Когда играл, думал, что игра 2004-2005, но оказалось 07, в целом для первого опыта разработчиками вполне достойно. Не люблю подобные концовки как в этой игре, довольно рискованно делать так, чтобы не отвечать четко на вопросы которые возникают при прохождении и оставлять не понятную концовку, ведь может сложится так, что продолжение и не выйдет и игра в итоге будет попросту слита и не иметь веса, но здесь все обошлось.
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  47. Nov 11, 2020
    6
    Pretty entertaining puzzling game for sure, but it's not scary at all and the story is lame. The game encourages you early on to stealth, but you pretty much need to fight all the enemies and the combat controls are terrible.

    Also, all lightsource items are pretty much useless (you'll never run out because it's so bright everywhere anyway) so you're never forced to be strategic with them.
  48. May 14, 2020
    8
    This game is very spartan and that is why I like it even more than it's successor Amnesia. There is pretty much only one enemy in the game and it is a dog, but the atmosphere is oppressive throughout. I found that brilliant and the conclusion thrilling. A great game for it's time.
Metascore
73

Mixed or average reviews - based on 28 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. PC Format
    79
    It's not beautiful, it's not that long, but it's spooky and well worth a look. [Apr 2007, p.71]
  2. games(TM)
    60
    The good does outweigh the bad, because as a horror game it successfully horrifies. It’s also one of the darkest games we’ve played since the original "Silent Hill." [Apr 2007, p.106]
  3. If you're interested in a serious relationship with gaming rather than purely out for a good time, please do take a look at Penumbra. It does some truly clever stuff, has an effectively creepy atmosphere and there's a few signposts in it that action and adventure games alike would do well to follow.