Let’s Talk About ‘890B’ – A Shallow Narrative Adventure That’s Over Before You Know It

When humanity is forced to seek out another habitable planet, apparently their best effort is the dull-as-dishwater Noah, who arrives at the lab to meet up with Luna and begin the search. What follows is about 45 minutes of navigating one of the most boring environments I’ve experienced this year, along with two different mini-games that were somehow more enjoyable.

Let’s get this out of the way early: I can’t recommend 890B to anyone but achievement hunters. Its store page bills it as a “3D adventure game” with a “minimalistic yet thought-provoking and impactful storytelling style,” which couldn’t be further from the truth.

The developer doesn’t exactly have the best track record for this sort of thing as their portfolio consists of forgettable (what some might refer to as “shovelware”) titles like 123 Dots, MathLand, Iro Hero, and Splat Dogs: Color Battles For Fun. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t whatever this is.

Here you control Noah by moving him around a very small laboratory that looks and feels like a Unity asset dump, doing nothing but walking up and down the same set of stairs while running into floating cubes that trigger brief dialogue boxes.

There is no thought-provoking narrative here. The dialogue that’s here is paper-thin and sometimes poorly translated, like the example below.

You’ll be revisiting every room in the lab numerous times just to walk over more cubes before returning back to Luna. Even when additional rooms become available, they all look the same and there’s nothing to do within them besides trigger dialogue boxes with cubes. It’s just not fun at all and the narrative barely exists to move things along.

Mercifully and comedically, you’re eventually presented with a security system that uses the old Nokia Snake game to keep folks out. This is the security of the future, folks! I say “mercifully” because I got to actually do something.

You’re given 7 simple stages to move the “snake” around dull backgrounds of motherboard JPGs and if you fail you just restart from the same stage.

The other mini-game was a block moving puzzle that actually took some brain work and ended up being pretty fun! I honestly wish they just made this the game instead.

The objective is to move the black boxes into the green tiles without bumping them into a wall or getting stuck. They appear deceptively easy, but this is where I spent most of my playtime (and I didn’t hate it!).

I can’t stress enough just how poor the graphical presentation is while walking around. Walls are paper-thin and the camera does nothing to hide this fact. You can see them crossing through each other every time you walk up and down the stairs (which, again, is A LOT).

I took this screenshot to show how the stairs look, which you can see are just flat textures. I just can’t.

890B is the total package when it comes to games that baffle me by their presence on modern consoles. This is an actual game for sale that released on Xbox Series X on November 10th, 2021. Three days ago! It’s ugly, boring, repetitive, poorly translated, and an absolutely regretable playthrough. There’s no “thought-provoking” narrative or “adventure.”

When the only redeeming qualities of your game is a block-pushing mini-game and easy achievement unlocks, it’s not going to be one I recommend to my readers.

Rating: 0.5 out of 5.

A digital Xbox code was provided by the game’s publisher EastAsiaSoft for the purpose of this review. It was played entirely on Xbox Series X.

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