Trauma is an indie game which has attracted a lot of interest recently, as it was re-released as part of an indie game bundle. The game is quite simplistic – if anything, it is simply a “hidden object” game with an interesting narrative. You play the role of a young woman who has been in an accident. While in hospital, suffering from head trauma, she has many strange dreams which help her work through various “coming of age” issues.
What makes this game stand out is the amazing illustration work that the developer has done. Trauma is essentially a photography portfolio. You navigate through the game world using mouse gestures to turn, pan and zoom the “camera”, in a similar fashion to how you would navigate Google Street View.
As you explore the game world – made up of a huge collection of panoramic photographs (including illustrations with Post Processing), macro shots and zoom photography, you play a “hunt the Polaroid” game, collecting Polaroid photos which are hidden in the high resolution photographs you are looking at. Each of those photographs contains a clue, and when you have collected enough of them you will be able to figure out what gesture you must perform, and upon which object, to complete the level.
The illustrations in trauma are exceptionally high quality. They have been creatively edited, and are a true visual feast. Unfortunately, the game itself is rather simplistic. You can complete the basic story in just half an hour, and it does not take much longer to collect all of the polaroids and uncover the secret endings and extras.
If you’re a fan of art and photography, it’s worth looking at this game just to see what the creator has done with the images and the interface. It’s a great way to put together a photography portfolio. If you’re looking for an exciting game experience, however, look elsewhere.