The Bradwell Conspiracy takes place on the day that the industrious Bradwell Electronics were about to reveal their world-changing Clean Water Initiative at their famous Stonehenge Museum, but disaster strikes when the museum starts crumbling apart and a path of destruction forms across its grounds. With no real idea to the cause but plenty of signs that offer different theories, it’s up to you to find out what happened whilst making your own to safety.
As far as narrative adventures are concerned it’s a unique premise, whilst the wealth of voice talent on offer (including British star Jonathan Ross) helping bring the tale to life. Admittedly, it does have its moments where it felt like it was building up to an assortment of crazy reveals only for them to fall a bit flat, but I was definitely satisfied with the story by the time it reached its conclusion.
I really enjoyed exploring the museum setting which is full of colour and unique sights. The signs of destruction actually feel impactful and play heavily in how you explore, whilst the way that you can always see Stonehenge in the distance through the windows adds a clever sense of identity to the game world. These sort of destroyed settings can often go down the derelict route where everything is in ruin, but the way that it’s presented in The Bradwell Conspiracy just felt unique and believable.
The majority of The Bradwell Conspiracy is spent seeing the narrative unfold, but there will be plenty of occasions where players will have to get their thinking caps on to solve the puzzles in their path. The puzzles are broken down into two types: those that require the use of your special glasses and those that use the Substance Mobile Printer.
The player is equipped with special glasses that allow them to communicate with another survivor named Amber (who’s surprisingly chipper for someone caught up in the destruction). However, the only way she can communicate with you is via the photographs you send her, which will help her give you clues on how to progress or even her insights into the many things you can snap. Whilst this adds an extra sense of environmental storytelling to the experience, it’s the way they’re used to solve puzzles that’s most clever – Amber will often tell you where to go, how to interact with an object, or even clear pathways for you on her end based upon the pictures you send her way. It’s a clever premise and something I never tired of during my playthrough.
The Substance Mobile Printer on the other hand was a lot less interesting. It’s basically a 3D printer which allows you to craft objects by using a material known as substance, with the objects you create then able to help open new pathways for the player or solve puzzles. The problem is, you can’t just print any old thing, but only objects that you’ve discovered the blueprints for. Not only does this add a sense of predictability to the puzzles with the solution typically made clear by whatever blueprints you’ve discovered, but it just feels limited in scope. I appreciate that being able to 3D print EVERY object wouldn’t be viable, but it would’ve been nice to have a bit more freedom.
Things like that are forgivable though, and in fairness some of The Bradwell Conspiracy’s puzzles are very clever. However, the performance issues that are found across the game are unforgivable, with the frame rate stuttering across the entirety of the experience and the visuals lacking clarity throughout. Having the game struggle to keep up with your actions or stutter as you tried to do basic things just felt disorientating and really broke the immersion of exploring the impressive world. It’s a huge disappointment and I just don’t understand why the developer didn’t spend a bit more time improving the game’s technical flaws before releasing.
The Bradwell Conspiracy has all the hallmarks in place to offer an intriguing adventure, but the performance problems hold it back throughout. There’ll rarely be a moment in the game where you’re not struggling through frame rate issues and it just makes the game so uncomfortable to play.
If these issues can be fixed, The Bradwell Conspiracy could really make for an enjoyable time. Its puzzles aren’t perfect, sure, but the game does have some original ideas in place that do help it stand out amongst similar games in the genre. Until its technical issues have been sorted though, there’s no way I can really recommend playing the game.
Developer: A Brave Plan
Publisher: Bossa Studios
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC