In 2016, I got my hands on Asemblance, a short narrative game that, ultimately, felt more like a vehicle for an ARG attached to it. It wasn't bad, it just lacked meat on its bones. It also lacked much of a point for anyone not willing to get into the ARG. Much to my surprise, I found a sequel has been released with little fanfare. Wanting to see if things have improved, I dove into Asemblance: Oversight with genuine curiosity. Is there more meat on the bones this time, or was there a quality oversight?
You play as... someone. It's never specified who, only that they're trying to discover a company's secret. Specifically, what the deal is with this giant machine in their basement that lets you step into people's memories. The game mostly revolves around three specific memories: a field full of birds, a seemingly regular office, and a hidden bunker in the middle of the woods. Your goal is to try and connect them, figuring out exactly where the machine came from and what's happening to the other people investigating it.
At least that's about what I can figure from the game. Much like the first entry, Asemblance: Oversight is really more of a way to deliver another ARG to you. While the game does a better job of being accessible to everyone, you're still going to need to prepare to really tear it apart if you want to find the real story. Each note leads to a new mystery, both out of the game and inside of it. With several endings that require more and more obscure actions, you're really going to have to dig if you want absolutely everything here. As I write this, the community has not discovered the path to the final ending. This is much like the original game, which required someone on Twitch to literally use a whiteboard and write down all their clues over the course of several days.
Does that sound fun to you? There are people who I know will get a real kick out of that. If you're not interested, then Asemblance: Oversight simply lacks much else. There's a couple of really easy puzzles in the game, but they all involve using looping voice messages to bluff your way past speech recognition doors. Outside of that, you'll mostly just be walking around so you can listen to audio logs or read papers you find lying about. Without this extra research, there's just not much reason to jump into the game, and it'll all be over in under an hour.
At least, no matter why you're here, you can appreciate how beautiful the game is. I found myself easily lost in the world of Asemblance: Oversight, constantly impressed with just how good the game could look. One scene that stands out features a grassy hill populated with birds. Watching the birds fly away felt like a scene from a nature documentary. Thankfully, the game has the technical prowess to back it up. There's also some great work done by Johnny Gross, the game's composer. Most of the game's soundtrack consists of quiet piano themes that do an excellent job setting each area's tone.
Sadly there's not much else to say about Asemblance: Oversight. Your enjoyment of the game is almost entirely going to depend on how much digging you want to do. I'm glad it exists. I love that there's a choice for people who'll want to do this kind of investigation work. However, I also don't see that many people really getting into the game. There's a barrier to overcome, but I suggest going for it if you're interested.
Asemblance: Oversight is the kind of game for someone who enjoys ARGs and tearing a piece of art apart to understand it, and it does that well. Everyone else may have trouble finding much to care about.
- Interesting Story
- Beautiful Graphics
- Requires a Lot of External Digging
- Little to Do if Not Interested in ARG Elements