You find yourself stranded is a dark cave. All that you have with you is a scanner that shoots out paint. The only way you can find yourself out of the cave is spray the walls with the paint. That’s all you have to do in explorer game Scanner Sombre, developed by Prison Architect designer Introversion Software.
Other than finding your way out of the cave, you will be able to explore ancient ruins, industrial mind shafts and watch the paint coming out of your scanner paint the underground lakes in the cave.
Scanner Sombre is marketed as a combination of Gone Home and Dear Esther. You’ll most likely notice the similarity with Dear Esther. It lacks the emotional center of Gone Home but capitalizes on Dear Esther‘s ability to allow you to fill in your own narrative gaps.
Scanner Sombre is content with allowing you to explore the cave as you wish, but there still is a hint narrative, even if it isn’t the main aspect of the game. According to Heather Alexandra of Kotaku, some of the “forced” narrative comes toward the end of the game, the “final twist ending [was] outright laughable in its attempts to elicit emotion.”
The world is what sets Scanner Sombre apart from other explorer games. It is a brief game, lasting no more than two hours, the mix of exploration and platforming could possibly lighten your day as you turn what starts out as a dark world into one of color and light. A brightened day could do everyone some good every now and then, and it looks like this will be the game that will do that for you. You can play the game on PC and Mac OSX. It does not appear to be available for console players in the near future and likely never will.