The Swedish game studio Frictional Games continues its tradition in the horror genre (Amnesia, Penumbra series) with SOMA. This time, the player is presented with a science fiction story in which the protagonist, Simon Jarret, is suddenly transported to an abandoned facility the moment he goes through a brain scan. After surviving a car accident with severe brain injuries as a result, Simon accepts to have his brain scanned with a new, experimental technology. While he starts the day in his apartment in Toronto, the scan takes him to the mysterious PATHOS-II facility mere hours later.
Much like its predecessors, SOMA's gameplay is built from monster encounters, puzzle solving and the exploration of mysterious game world and plot. Similar to Amnesia or the last two Penumbra games, Simon in unarmed and every encounter requires the player to avoid direct contact with the hostile creatures of PATHOS-II. As for the puzzles, Frictional reuses in part the capabilities of its in-house engine, the HPL engine (on its third main version), to manipulate every object in the world as if the mouse were a virtual hand that the player inserts in the game world. However, this time around puzzles are mainly about interacting with computer terminals, leaving object manipulation more for world exploration.