Submachine 6; -ak-‘s review

It’s been more than year and half since Sub_5: The Root came out that continue to haunt us for countless of nights, our mind and soul constantly pleading for the new Submachine game to come out sometime. Now that Mur finally took his time crafting another of masterpiece and unleashed unto the web last night, we all swarmed to take a nibble off his flesh meat he carved for us. Now that we’re full of our supper and took a hard look at Sub_6, it is time to ask questions regarding to the game.

– Did Sub_6 provide one of more interesting experience for PNC genre? Yes.

– Is there wealth of information readily satisfy our lust for plot development? Yes.

– Do we waste our time on exploration and secret hunting and is it fun? Yes and Yes.

– Best Submachine yet? ……. Well…… No.

But why? You asked for lot of stuffs that Mur put in the game! Why is it not the best yet? It is true that Mur did crafted this game the way he want and the way we want, but there’s some of element that I felt wasn’t fully realized and lacked something special. I will explain in full for this review:


Oh comon, this shouldn’t even be part of review… but since I like being critical AND charitable, I must. The entire layout and artistic direction of this game is rather… filled with curiosity since Sub Net Defense System within the Edge really blew me away with its unique architect that felt like being INSIDE a computer and the primary gameplay aspect of this further reinforced this unique direction. It is just about perfect as Sub_4 and Sub_5 had achieved while still retaining the mystery of Submachine Net, especially with the unnaturally large structure and the vast darkness.

I know I said I like to be critical, but really… I can’t find any criticisms regarding to graphic and animation. I believe he finally nailed in the lid about establishing art and direction of Submachine series since Sub_4 and I don’t think he would stumble sometime in the future.

Score: 10/10


…….. I am going to be very harsh on this. The soundtrack is DISAPPOINTING. When Mur said that he thought ThumpMonk nailed on the tunes for this game on first try, I thought we would be hearing something special. The end result of entire soundtrack is very sterile, quiet, and lacking. Each of tunes in this game did not have the signature style of being soul-grating, disturbing, mechanical, and memorable. If the tune is suppose to symbolize that the Defense System is very hard to penetrate and that it isn’t infected by us while by not needing the tune to try to deter us away, I guess it is successful, but the tune must be memorable like any other tunes in Submachine series. I do feel slightly scared, but not so much comparing to Sub_2, 3, 4, and even 5. Sadly that the tunes in this game are simply this: just plain ambients.

At least the sound effects are extremely well done as I expected from Sub_6. The machine hum to life with each of different puzzles providing distinct beep and blip and click and hum. They’re very satisfying to listen to, further compelling us to tackle each and every puzzles we can just to see how we interact the game and what kind of result we would expect and not expect. Once again, it just about perfect!

While sound effects are awesome as always, the Submachine series finally and sadly have the black-sheep of soundtrack in Sub_6.

Score: 6.6/10


Now this here is something special and thick that we can chew and swallow. I was very delighted to see wealth of information regarding to plot development of Sub_6 and entire series and that alone made up for the disappointment I have in Sub_5’s lack of plot development. The Defense System is just the way I expected it to be: very controlling and authoritative and that had extremely profound effect on us right from the start. This set up a very compelling and tense atmosphere in this game because of the presence of Defense System that might appear just around the corner. I took delight in exploration aspect of the game because I actually felt like I needed to overcome the Defense System and find a way to bypass it. What really came out of left field is that there’s few of surprise twists that totally turned the series and last few games around, giving us more answers and questions than I thought we bargained for. I walked away very satisfied, but left to wonder if the Defense System would have done bit more to stop us in our track like tossing us out again or trap us in certain situation. I would take what we get because the game’s aspect of bypassing Defense System is very satisfying and well done.

As for the secret? Nice way to exceed our expectation by making them works differently than we thought. No secret balls and hunting secrets are still satisfying! Nice job [:D] The ending is just as good, though I thought it could be improved with bit of cutscene like Sub_2, 3, and 5, but I would still take it because of lasting effect of certain scene after doing something to Mainframe. Talk about shocking! Now I wonder what the Core would be like.

Score: 9.8/10


Now the gameplay is a mixed bag. I know I mentioned that I enjoyed exploring and bypassing Defense System and I still holding onto those words of mine. It just that I felt both satisfied and dissatisfied with some of aspect in the gameplay.

Exploration? It there all right, but I felt the game became very linear going toward the latter half of the game and the sense of needing to explore got lost in the translation.

Difficulty? A total opposite of Sub_5. At first, it was pretty tough regarding to puzzles and exploration, but as the game starting to come together later on and the path starting to clear out for you upon acquiring certain important item, the game felt very easy to solve since you wouldn’t need to be required to go back and forth like in other games.

Puzzles? Both difficult and easy. We’re seeing some of repeat in Sub_3 where the game is entirely puzzle-based that require logic and thought process and in that way, it is a huge success. But once we got the hang of it, we can see some sort of pattern and with clear sense of what the later puzzles are like, the game gotten very easy to solve and that the unpredictability and trial-and-error of last few games didn’t feel profound here without items. I am not saying you should change the puzzles, maybe you could change the way we interact with the puzzles to make them bit difficult and bit more unpredictable. The direction with the puzzles in this game is very unique and different and I really liked that, but I plowed through the game, sitting in mere 45 minutes comparing to wicked 2 hours each with Sub_4 and 5.

Length? I know I said Sub_5 felt small because of lack of variety within the Root section and few items, yet Sub_6 felt small because of easy difficulty and small areas that’s easy to navigate.

I know I know that I am too harsh, but those are what I feel about this game. Don’t get me wrong, I love the unique direction you went with for this game, being entirely reliable on certain item while bypassing the Defense System. That’s delightfully huge departure from themes of escape in Sub_2 and 3, solving mystery of Sub_4, and exploration-based mission of Sub_5. I still finding myself darting through this game, combing for secrets and plot developments and ways to disable Defense System while still being satisfied with the design and direction of game. It really speak to us about your level of mastery on PNC genre. I hope this won’t discourage you from trying to experiment different approach to PNC genre in next Submachine games and make them compelling and fun. This won’t really hurt this score since I still find some fun despite some flaws

Score: 8.7/10

So… despite many of my criticisms, did this game still achieve my expectation? YES on some levels. Gameplay is still compelling because of exploration, unique puzzle, ominous presence of Defense System prevailing entire span of game, wealth of plot developments, and events that lead up to Sub-7 and future games. Best of all, the game is still fun and satisfying to play and still retain the mysterious premise of Submachine. Sadly, the difficulty, backtracking, and soundtrack are severely not up to the standard I expected of Submachine game and they do hurt its standing as “Best Submachine Game Yet”. That title will still go to Sub_4. But I refuse to put this game higher or lower than Sub_5 because I see this as equal to that game since they’re both have their share of great fun and annoying flaws.

Regardless of my criticisms, Sub_6 is still a <3 MASTERPIECE <3 because this game strives to be very unique and different and fun, something that many PNC game tried and failed. Because of Sub_6’s addition to the series and its lasting impression, I think we can make strong assumption that Submachine series is the Best PNC Series on the internet today [:D] Good job, Mur! As always

Final Score: 9.2/10