35MM review: A glorified walking sim on console

Носков Сергей
Носков Сергей /

Title: 35MM
Developer: Sometimes You
Publisher: Sometimes You
Platforms: PS4 (reviewed on), Xbox One, PC, Switch
Release Date: March 2, 2022

After playing Martha is Dead and realizing how much I loved playing a video game with a camera mechanic, I thought that 35MM would be an interesting skip deeper down the indie horror hole. Now, because 35MM is more on the indie scale than a game like Martha is Dead, I am not comparing them, however, for a game named after camera film, I will be judging them on their in-game camera mechanics. Here we go!

35MM was initially released for PC only but finally released on consoles in the beginning of March. You play the game as a traveler with his companion. A virus has decimated humanity and you make your way across the empty Russian countryside, gathering supplies and trying to survive everything that still remains. Nearly all of us have seen at least ONE episode of The Walking Dead and we all know that in the apocalypse, humans are the biggest threat. That and bears. Bears are still going to be pretty scary.

If that synopsis seems pretty vague, you must know…that’s pretty much it. It would seem our character is in search of something pr someone but the majority of 35MM is just trying to survive humanity. I don’t mind simple stories or simple mechanics but I have a major beef with this game. Your character has a camera but you barely use it! Sure, you can take pictures of your surroundings if you WANT to but you pretty much forgot that you have a camera after a while. I know I said that I wouldn’t compare them but in Martha is Dead, use of the camera is mandatory for certain missions to progress. I found that I took out my camera by accident more than using it to take pictures.

Lack of photography aside, 35MM isn’t TOO bad for a few hours of your time. The fact that it originated as a PC game is glaring as the controls feel a bit stiff and strange. The majority of the gameplay is walking and looking at your surroundings until you come across random people for some awkward interaction. There are moments of combat which feel very awkward on a console controller but seem like it would feel a bit better on mouse and keyboard.

As a small indie release and looking at the graphics objectively, the environments look really good. The setting is bleak and gray and as you walk through abandoned towns at night, you get that eerie feeling settling over you. 35MM doesn’t hold you hand in terms of figuring out what to do and there isn’t really a cohesive mapping system so you may find yourself wandering around with a bucket in your hand looking for a well with no indication of where it is or what it even looks like. Was that just me? Okay…

There was a really awesome moment in a flashback where your character was walking through a hospital at the height of the virus as it zooms its way across human immune systems. You hear coughing and hacking in the background and, given the pandemic for the last several years, it’s incredibly eerie. Unfortunately, it ends so soon and there’s nothing that meets that level of discomfort again in the game.

The character models were a bit unsettling but I don’t expect The Last of Us level graphics in an indie game. Hell, certain indie titles look better with pixilation. It gives them an almost dreamy quality. In this instance, the dead shark eyes of your companion staring right into the camera was almost scarier than the game itself. And lest we not forget that the final boss battle was so ridiculous that it took me out of the whole game completely.

35MM isn’t a game for everyone. If you like bite-sized games with low-budget style and awkward encounters in which you walk a LOT and explore, then you will love this game. While it isn’t my cup of tea, 35MM is something that my dad would have enjoyed playing in the 90s. In the end, I feel that this game’s real home is on PC and there it should remain.

35MM (PS5) Score: 5/10

If you like the indie feeling of a dark and dreary walking simulator with no actual need for a camera, then 35MM may be the game for you. However, it seems maybe PC is the better home for it.

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.