Lumber Island- That Special Place is an Adventure game set in a horror setting. Most of your time will be spent exploring and solving odd puzzles like getting a murderer to leave you alone by fetching him his shoes. You play as an unknown entity who you will never see. Not even it’s hand is visible when holding a lighter, it just kind of floats on it’s own. Starting off you awaken in a nearly abandoned island which is home of a murderous lumberjack that roams these lands. You will have to avoid him as you try to figure out a solution to escape this place. Your character has no means of defending itself and if he is spotted all he can do is flee then hide under a bed, hoping not to be seen. The lumberjack is surprisingly fast so if you spot him close by it may already be too late to flee, in which case he will jam that axe into your head. Dying means starting the area all over which is annoying, however the areas are small and knowing exactly what to do, you can get to where you were before your demise rather quickly. This game has a checkpoint system that also saves the game but you never know when you have reached one. That does make dying feel a lot more frightening though on the other hand you don’t know when it is safe to shut down the game without losing any progress.
One of the first things you will notice when you are given control of your character is how sensitive the camera is. The slightest movement of your mouse will send the camera flying and there is no way to change the sensitivity levels. Camera on the gamepad is more tolerable but still far too sensitive, making it annoying to explore the ares for clues. This is made into a bigger annoyance since many of the puzzles require you to find a small object that you may easily miss and searching every nook and cranny can grow to be a pain. After the first beginning area you can take all the time in the world due to only the first level having an enemy that wanders around. That’s not to say your completely safe however, there are a few cheap deaths scattered about that you have no real way of predicting. Strangely enough the first areas of the game have the hardest puzzles and after that they make a lot more sense. Being a Adventure game you have to throw some logic out of the window and remember that you can carry anything from a lever to a entire lever in your pants. There is no way to see what is in your inventory for some odd reason so it is best to play this game uninterrupted or you will more likely than not forget what you were doing.
From start to finish this game has a foreboding and creepy atmosphere that has you certain that you will be killed if you take a step further. The lumberjack feels like a very generic enemy that has a sack over his head but the rest of the monsters are very creepy and if you spot one you will not have much time to get more than a glimpse of it’s grotesque features before being in serious trouble. You never get a good look at them and are the type of enemies that will surprise attack you and leave you no hope of escape if you wander into a place you shouldn’t. There are no indications of what places you shouldn’t go in which both makes for cheap deaths and a sense of dread as you are forced to explore to continue. The monsters animations are rather crummy though this works to the game’s advantage as their unnatural janky movements add to the sense of eeriness. Your only interaction in this game is a sprint button and a button that picks things up, allowing you to throw them around to find hidden items. Whats rather nice is that you can sprint for as long as you want, unlike many other games where if your character runs more than three feet he will stop to take a rest. You have very little indication of what you are supposed to do but my advise is to look for the teddy bear.
It is a good looking game and can be rather taxing on your system. I experience occasional frame dips and a certain area near the end of the game had me down to the 30fps range due to all the books in the area that could be interacted with. This game is dark, very dark. Your lighter draws very little light and most of my time was spent squinting at my monitor hoping to find something that would let me advance. The combination of having to find small items plus being unable to see further than two feet in front of you can be irritating. Another annoyance with the game is the music/ambient sound. It is a very short loop that plays through the entire game and quickly becomes tiresome and funny enough the few instances where it stopped the game felt much scary. In your journey to escape the island you will come across notes that either aid you with cryptic clues or adds backstory to the setting. To be perfectly honest the story completely flew over my head and I understood none of it. I’m sure there is more to it than meets the eye but I left the game more confused than when I started the it.
Lumber Island is not a long game by any means. If you are more competent at Adventure games than I am it will likely take you about an hour to complete. It is a low priced game so only you will know if that is a acceptable amount of bang for the buck. The replay value comes in the form of trying to get a grip on the story though that seems unappealing due to having to squint at my monitor some more searching for extra notes I may have missed. I would say it is worth a playthrough as the good outweighs the bad and it is a pretty creepy game. It is the kind of game that has potential but is heavily weighed down by quite a few flaws. It is an Adventure game first and a horror game second as every room seems to have something to find and figure out. None of the areas are large but they will take some brain power and sharp eyes to get through nonetheless. There is very little blood and no gore in this title. It is centered around a few disturbing monsters and psychological trickery to keep you on your guard. When all is said and done Lumber Island is a solid enough Adventure game to recommend to fans of the genre that also enjoy a horror setting.