They Breathe Remastered
Gameplay 7
Graphics 8
Sound 8

They Breathe is a rather strange and unique game that challenges players to steer a frog towards the bottom of a sunken forest. It is a straightforward game in terms of visuals, audio, and controls, but hiding beneath its seemingly cute exterior lurks some disturbing elements. Players can also complete it in one sitting, but the budget price means it still offers value for money.

Gameplay: Straightforward, but has some tricks up its sleeve.

Graphics: Cute, yet creepy.

Sound: Not much music, but the audio adds to the creepy atmosphere of the game

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They Breathe Remastered

Developer: The Working Parts | Publisher: The Working Parts | Release Date: 2014 | Genre: Action / Adventure / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

They Breathe opens with an innocuous frog sitting on a log floating on some water. The frog then plunges into the water, and the game begins. At no point does the game bombard players with a story or even tutorial. The game also does not explain the motivations of the frog or why it is descending into the depths. However, it quickly becomes clear that the frog is not alone in the murky waters, and that’s when things become even creepier.

They Breathe was initially released as an Xbox Live indie game in 2011, before it received a re-released on Steam in 2014. The game is very short and can be completed in less than 30 minutes, so there’s not much that we can say about it without spoiling some of the surprises it holds. Players control the little frog as it descends through a series of waves to reach the bottom of what appears to be an underwater forest. Each wave features enemies for the frog to outwit, but it is up to players to figure out how to deal with them. As the title suggests, oxygen is an essential factor in the game, and bubbles are constantly floating upwards from the bottom of the screen. Players must use these bubbles to their advantage as they are vital for both survival and fighting enemies.

Although They Breathe is a very short game, it is also priced accordingly and includes both the original and the remastered version. Completing the game rewards players with a special password for the developer’s website, which contains information about the game’s making. It’s a little strange that this information isn’t included within the game itself, but luckily the website is still up and running at the time of writing this review.

Visually, They Breathe features hand-drawn art that veers somewhere between creepy and cute. The enemy designs, in particular, are a little disturbing, although there are only a few different types. The backgrounds become murkier the further your frog descends, and we also like how the frog’s color indicates its health. This keeps the screen free from the clutter of health bars or other indicators. The audio created for the game also does a marvelous job contributing to the chilling atmosphere. It doesn’t feature a traditional soundtrack but instead opens with a tune that fades away to ambient noises the deeper you go. The sound effects are just as hair-raising, and playing the game with headphones is a very intense experience.

We didn’t encounter any issues with the controls, and apart from being able to swim in any direction, the game only features one button that is used to give your frog a quick speed boost. Even this boost isn’t strictly necessary as there is an achievement for completing the game without using it once.

They Breathe is undoubtedly a unique title, but it has also fallen victim to being overhyped. Some players will appreciate the strange “twist” in the game, while others will wonder what all the fuss is about. It features horror elements, such as the fear of drowning, darkness, and claustrophobia, but it is not a game that will scare you. We also have to mention that some of the achievements in the game appear to be broken and did not trigger for us even after multiple attempts. Nevertheless, we recommend that anyone who can appreciate unique and quirky games give it a try for the small asking price.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP
  • Processor: Single Core 500 MHz
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 512 MB RAM
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Storage: 512 MB available space
  • OS: Mojave
  • Processor: Single Core 500 MHz
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 512 MB RAM
  • Storage: 512 MB available space
  • Additional Notes: Probably works on lower macOS as well!

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2 Comments

  1. Magnus Nyström May 11, 2021
    Reply

    Haha nice that you found the hidden galllery! We were not good enough devs at the time to make the Behind the Scenes part of the game, but yeah it will ”always” be available on our website! 😀

    • GAMERamble May 12, 2021
      Reply

      That’s good to know! The gallery contains some fascinating insights about the game.

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