Submachine 9, -ak- review


You all know this is coming… The beginning of the end. Submachine 9: the Temple, the penultimate chapter of the legendary Submachine series crafted by Mateusz Skutnik is only a fingertip away from the click of our mouse, tugging at the minds of all who yearn to see the story coming to full circle. And came to (almost) full circle, the story does while also blowing, shattering, and vaporizing all of our doors right off the hinges with some absolute shockers of gameplay and plot twists. Submachine 9 make no apologies with what it sets out to do while leaving us cowering in prospects of our doom, knowing that the entire main series will end soon.

With styles.



Once more, with feelings. Our old song and dance. Again and again, no beginning nor end like the haunting Loop. After the last two jaw-dropping entries that entranced the PNC worlds with their revelatory styles has Mateusz once more enticing everyone with his impressive mastery over art directions. This time around in Submachine 9, the ethereal sci-fi-inspired designs were exchanged for the mystical, spiritual, and religious architectures. Stones wedged within the walls and floors, cracks and growths littered their surfaces, totem and statues and ornaments and the likes sitting in open and corners, taunting and teasing our inquisitive curiosity. The entire Temple are rife with the remnants of ancient times, falling victim(?) as another part of Submachine’s mysteriously abandoned locations.

While such decision may be quite odd given how heavily interwind the series is with many science fiction tropes, the choices are rather inspired and fitting given the nature of the game itself for a few very good reasons I dare not to mention here. Each areas outside and inside the Temple are vividly haunting, serene, and menacing, appropriately given the atmosphere that the entire areas are of sacred value and not to be desecrated. Even many of the series’s hallmark difficult puzzles are crafted as if they’re part of the Temple’s ornaments and are gorgeous to look and interact with. Even the entire architecture serves immensely to the plot as you will find out why while descending deeper into its never-ending abyss.

The only criticism leveled against the game is that some of the main levels are too similar in term of design and construction, though they’re smartly differ from each other by uses of various elements and puzzles to keep you from being too lost in its labyrinth layout. Submachine 9 might delights or disappoints you depending on your preference of art styles, but it will leave you satisfied with how gorgeous the Temple is.

Score: 9.8/10



Your ears will bleed in happiness for the acoustic and soundtrack of Submachine 9 are phenomenal. Not only the entire soundtrack ranks against the likes of series’ best in Sub_2, 4, 7, and 8, it could very well be the very best in series. The tunes continue the proud traditions of evoking ominously haunting and oppressive atmosphere, fitting so perfectly within the style of locations, and being marvelously memorable. What made this installment special is how extremely fitting the soundtrack is within the sequence of game and the emotions of plot so efficiently as the tunes blare and beat perfectly with your awes and shocks and dread.

Even the tunes are delight to listen as they are full of characters and also perfectly fits the style of the entire Temple. The richness and quality of soundtrack made itself into a unique kind of beast all of its own that elevates the whole game convincingly against the other critical darlings in its own series.

Thumpmonks has outdid themselves once again.

Score: 10/10



You know those sounds raging across the internet lately?


Who knew that chasing after Murtaugh and Liz would reach toward something like this? Being the penultimate installment of the main series, Submachine 9 wastes no time revealing itself to answer many of our tantalizing questions and creating several new ones. At long last, the entire plot of Submachine are starting to be made clear, starting with a lone and seemly inconsequential note back in Submachine 1: the Basement. Details being scrounged and analyzed, theories are shattered and validated, and revelations being digested and debated. Submachine 9 absolutely leave almost no stones unturned, ambitious in its quest to make sure we know exactly or subtly what has happened, what are happening, and what will happens in Submachine 10: the Exit.

The only small criticism that some people may have against the game is that the story told in Submachine 9 has made the Submachine 7’s excitingly active plot rather pointless. Heck, they may feel that the entire series has slammed its brake and did a disservice to its own tale. In my personal opinions, I enjoyed the plot for what it is. While I may lament that the main plot may be neatly wrapped up as it is after experiencing exciting and active entries in Sub_4, 7, and 8, I understood and respect the decisions as what were found in the Temple have huge thematic implications in the entire series for the better.

The method and style of plot and its twists are absolutely fitting given the nature of the Temple location itself. Perhaps what may delighted or angered many of series’ devoted and diehard fans is that the biggest question have still yet to be answered: what Submachine really is? At this point in the entire series given that Mateusz has been very selective with how he choose to share with the players, we may never know the answer.

And yet, we still love the series for its mysteries.

Score: 10/10



Submachine 9 does not disappoint. It kicks our asses and made sure we loved every agonizing seconds of it. The Temple may well be the hardest in series as it was clearly crafted for the expert PNC players. With very little hints and guiding arrows, we are left to our own devices and instincts as to where to go, what details to explore, and how to solve those puzzles? The series’ hallmark exploration are still here, this time bolstered by sheer immensity of the Temple itself, being the biggest in series. The backtracking were kept from being tedious thanks to strong art direction and smart level design. What elevates the gameplay is how the overarching plot of series works seamlessly within the game, using the items and puzzles themselves to progress the story and answer many of our questions. The puzzles are no slouch either, requiring your very best logic and observation skills to hatch open their solutions.

These requires some finely-tuned attention to details that not many players may have. Some of puzzles are rather difficult (or perhaps TOO difficult), forcing you to potentially hound after a conspicuously hidden item, room after room, before you either figured it out by yourself or resorting to walkthrough. I almost took the easy way out as few of the puzzles were particularly unforgiving given that it is easy to miss some of crucial details that may nudge you toward a solution. Also, secrets hunting is as strong as ever. You may wastes hours trying to find those little golden buggers and hated Mateusz for it. The set this time around are the most cleverly hidden yet.

Make no mistakes, Submachine 9 is a monster as it was meant to be at this point in the series. If you played this game first before any other games in the series, may Shiva has mercy on your poor foolish soul.

Score: 9.5/10



Submachine 9 has comes and gone, leaving behind trails of destruction that are our lofty expectations. Mateusz Skutnik has once again shattered them and rightly so, leaving the gap wide open for any and all hypes to shatter once more when the conclusive game, Submachine 10: the Exit, emerges from the depth of his mind to pen off one of the most well-realized, expertly-written, and finely-crafted PNC series of all time.

On my more personal notes, this is one of the best in series with Sub_9 ranking alongside Sub_2, 4, 7, and 8. No easy feats given the previous two games have constantly outdoing themselves and Submachine 9 has certainly outdid itself.

With styles.