App Reviewed on: iPad Pro
User Interface Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Veritas is a first-person adventure game in the vein of The Room titles or Agent A: A puzzle in disguise. You wander an environment, alone, collecting items and clues, all of which combine somehow to unlock forward progress. I like a lot about how easy Veritas makes the puzzle-solving process, but the game suffers from really obtuse and absurd puzzle design, which drags out the experience and spoils the mood that the game is aiming for.
Keys in locks
Veritas starts very abuptly. Players find themselves in what appears to be a cell, though not a particularly secure one. It’s full of items like a screwdriver, chains, barrels, and a camera, among other various bits of information, all of which can help you escape. Once out of captivity, though, the real adventure begins.
If you’ve played something like The Room before, the gameplay should be very familiar. Environments are completely uninhabited, though they’re littered with things that that pair with various obstacles standing in your way. You job is to sort through everything at your disposal to figure out which things act as “keys” and and which “locks” they need to go into. Sometimes these are literal keys and locks, but at others, they may be passwords and computers, lights and dark spaces, etc.
In some of these kinds of adventure games, the process of analyzing keys and locks can be cumbersome. You might have to run back and forth between spaces or even take screenshots with your device to keep track of things. None of this is a problem in Veritas, though. This game has as close to a perfect clue gathering system I’ve seen in a game.
From the outset, players have access to a camera that they can use to take in-game screenshots. Once taken, you can refer back to them in a virtual journal, and even bring individual photos out on top of the game screen so you can solve puzzles while looking right at whatever reference material you have taken photos of. On top of this, Veritas also has a ton of convenience features like a detailed hint system and a visual highlighting that can call attention to specific places or objects, both of which you can use as much or as little as you want.
Although I found myself impressed with how easy and convenient it was to gather clues in Veritas, I was a bit disappointed by the game’s puzzles and story. It almost feels like Glitch Games decided that they needed to make things obtuse and difficult to counterbalance its elegant investigation systems. This is to say that Veritas routinely presents puzzles that seem solely placed in the game world to stump you.
The result of this design makes for an experience that feels disjointed, confusing, and sometimes even unfair. I found myself in the back half of the game routinely needing to consult the in-game hints because of how absurd some of the puzzles were, and sometimes—even after reading about exactly what to do—I was still left scratching my head.
The worst part about all of this is that the puzzles in Veritas don’t really feel like they gel with the game world. Most of the game takes place in what appears to be a huge research facility that fell into disrepair, but there are doors operated by ancient-looking multi-part keys and tons of puzzle boxes laying around on desks. By the end of the game, something happens to try and make all of these disparate pieces fit together, but it doesn’t really feel earned.
On a technical note, Veritas also has a very obnoxious back up save feature that seems to trigger randomly in game. The annoying part of this feature is that it interrupts your progress by bringing up a menu telling you it’s backing up your save, and there’s basically nothing you can do to stop it once it starts. Although save files are only a few megabytes, there were times where I was waiting minutes at a time for this process to complete. You can turn this feature off in the game’s options, but it’s on by default. I recommend turning it off because of how distracting it can be.
The bottom line
Veritas is a very challenging adventure game, but its difficulty feels unjustified. As much fun as it can be to piece together clues to make progress, the game seems hellbent on making sure you have a tough time of it, and pays little attention to anything else. This makes Veritas feel unfaithful to its core premise, and also a somewhat frustrating experience.