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Scanner Sombre is an exploration game both developed and published by Introversion Software. It is available on both PC and Macintosh computers, and features both controller and VR support, for the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift. Introversion Software also previously developed and published the BAFTA award winning Prison Architect.


In the game the player is effectively blind. They navigate by spraying dots around their environment. These stick to surfaces and allow the player to effectively “see”. Different surfaces react in different ways, with dots changing colour depending on their distance from the player.


Scanner Sombre was inspired by Dear Esther and Gone Home, both of which are atmospheric games that put exploration first. Despite the fact that there are no ordinary visuals, the game is still a beautiful piece with many tense moments and the occasional horror sequence. This is only amplified by the sense that the player must create the world around them. In doing so it seems more real since the player must choose to give shape to the things around them, even if there is no other way to progress.

The World

It is not simply a matter of painting invisible walls either. Dots remain visible even after the player has turned a corner. As such, Scanner Sombre earns a particular feeling of 3D space which is unique to it. It is difficult to become truly lost when one can see through the corners already passed by, and the way forward is always a well of blackness waiting to be explored.