Centum Preview

Centum promises to be a point-and-click adventure game steeped in mystery where the player is trapped serving a 100-year prison sentence… at least that’s how it appears at first. In my preview session, Centum proved to be an utterly bizarre and diabolical experience that kept me on my toes.

The story seems to be operating on multiple levels and the frequent use of arc words stands out, demanding players to keep them in mind for a sadistic twist that looms over their heads like a dangling sword of Damocles… maybe. From the start, Centum is here to toy with the player, and in the short time I had with it, I was left more in the dark than before playing it.

The meta introduction blurs the lines of reality. Are we playing a game within a game? Is the dungeon the player is trapped in meant to be some symbolic representation? What was the meaning behind all the ominous readme files at the front-end menu? Centum further compounds these mysteries with a threatening judge who asks tons of questions and while it isn’t clear what it all means, all choices suggest the protagonist is not who he claims to be.

The main story thread in Centum is punishment for some heinous act the main character committed. Every NPC acts like they know more than they are alluding to and players could safely assume that the protagonist is unreliable. From the hallucinations, lapses in reality, and the possibility of the protagonist lying to the player; expect to always feel like you’re in a state of doubt and uncertainty about everything you see.

The main attraction of Centum‘s gameplay is the choices and dialogue. There are seemingly many branching paths to take and when you make a choice, the story commits to it and the game is quick to react to an impressive selection of dialogue options. There are dramatic consequences that loom over the experiences and other characters won’t always be forthcoming with what you should do.

One very odd-looking character is allegedly always telling the truth, but he is not easy to deal with. Another character might not even be real at all, but given the surreal and mysterious nature of the story, there is no way to confirm anything. Centum is going to be the kind of experience that will torment OCD players who want to achieve certain outcomes.

This is a game that requires the player to give up any notions of control and embrace the consequences. Centum feels like it’s going to offer many unique experiences to whoever plays it since it seems like the designers have taken many considerations into the writing and choices.

Centum isn’t just pixel hunting and dialogue trees; it does have good old-fashioned adventure game puzzles. At first, some of these will seem daunting and even utterly alien. After a couple of minutes, the puzzles are pretty simple after fiddling around with them everything starts to make sense.

Sometimes there are basic mini-games that may blindside the player. These are roughly as complex as a browser game or a Wario Ware-style microgame. Centum’s priority is to tell a story and establish mood above all else so any gamer who struggles with these will get a prompt for a much easier setting to get past these and to focus on the core of what Centum offers.

The pixel art is impressively lush and appealing. The muted colors make Centum look and feel very cold and bursting with personality. Some standout designs look like they will be meme-worthy and some of the haunting imagery just might make your blood run cold. Centum is not afraid to mix things up with some animated vignettes that jump into a white-on-black line art style. Some of these are pretty expressive and set a whimsical tone.

The preview build did have me run into a language bug where all text about one object was always in Cyrillic, but given the vague and mysterious nature of Centum, it could be intentional. This was most likely a glitch, but the effect did enhance the experience nonetheless.

Centum‘s greatest enigma is what it’s about and what the goal is. I’m curious to find out its mysteries and how everything comes together. What lies at the end of the 100-year sentence? I hope to find out when Centum releases on PC and the Series X|S consoles this summer.

Centum is set to launch on Windows PC (Steam) and Xbox Series X|S in Summer 2024, in North America.
, ,


A youth destined for damnation.

Where'd our comments go? Subscribe to become a member to get commenting access and true free speech!