Tenebris Pictura key art

Can a Game Make You Turn the Controller Upside Down?

Hi! This is Alfonso del Cerro from Pentadimensional Games.

Today I will comment on one of the many experimental features included in our recent game Tenebris Pictura. Can a game make you turn the controller upside down? Keep on reading to find the answer (spoiler: the answer is yes but some players will refuse to do it).

In Tenebris Pictura you play the role of Magnus, a paranormal investigator with psychic abilities (like the ultra-corporeal travel, i.e., the ability to separate body and soul) who has to explore an island, hunting demons and solving puzzles, under a mystery atmosphere in the Victorian era. The game is very diverse and boasts a wide variety of gameplay mechanics. One of them will make you (maybe) turn your controller upside down.

At one stage, a powerful transdimensional entity called Thronaton attacks Magnus and the hero asks his four horses for help. The four equine friends can also detach their souls from their bodies, so the ultra-corporeal battle is served: Magnus and his four horses versus Thronaton.

The horses are placed on screen from left to right and you control them, evading Thronaton’s attacks and striking back. The first revolutionary feature of the battle is that you have to control the four horses all at once, with the four parts of the controller: the first one with the left stick, the second one with the d-pad, the third one with the right stick and the fourth and final one with the ABXY front buttons. This allows you to evade (left or right) and attack (pressing up) with two, three or up to four horses at the same time. Yes, you read that right. The term “finger gymnastics” acquires a new significance when you realize that you have to release your controller and place it on a surface to be able to move four characters simultaneously.

Despite the apparent difficulty, every player understands intuitively what he/she has to do, because the disposition of the horses on screen is equal to the disposition of the four parts of the controller that move them… At least, until the second confrontation. In that one, horror!, Thronaton turns the screen upside down and now the four horses are reversed with respect to the controller. Meanwhile, an on-screen tutorial informs you of the only solution: turning the controller upside down. Here is where most players I’ve seen in playtest sessions break out laughing and feel a mixture of tension, incredulity and concentration as they do what the game tells them to do. These are the most deliberately uncomfortable controls ever made in a console game as far as I know. Other players refuse to do it and (with greater difficulty), they mentally reverse the controls. The game lets them do so, of course. It has no way of telling them apart.

This minigame is only a small sample of the many original mechanics that we have introduced in the island of Tenebris Pictura so that you can find and enjoy them, like leaping into paintings, surviving the spontaneous teleport of the player, solving puzzles via tearing down the walls of the room, or chasing movable doors and windows in the Mansion of Madness. And rest assured, you can play most of them while grabbing the controller properly. The game is out now and you can watch the trailer above.

Xbox Live

Tenebris Pictura

Pentadimensional Games

Presenting Tenebris Pictura, an ultra-corporeal action adventure brought to you by the creators of Megaton Rainfall. You'll be plunged back to the Victorian era, playing the role of a paranormal investigator with psychic abilities who has landed in a misty, convoluted island, brimming with mystery. You were invited there by an old friend, to investigate his daughter's disappearance. Before long, you're embroiled in a supernatural mystery linked with a shady sect, and sightings of extra-terrestrial beings that appear to have escaped from a strange collection of paintings with dubious origins. DEFY THE UNKNOWN BEASTS Conceal your body from danger and separate your soul to face the demon hordes. Dodge their barrages of ectoplasm and counter-attack with your psychic energy blasts… But that won't be enough! You need to move the objects around and get your surroundings strategically prepared. You'll discover and learn how to use your strange skills and tricks to divide and conquer, stopping your enemies' progress in spite of being massively outnumbered. SOLVE TRANS-DIMENSIONAL PUZZLES On this island, the laws of nature seem to be crumbling: disappearing floors transport you to far-away galaxies, moving walls, illusions and lights that create the environment in their wake, transportable worlds found inside paintings… A huge variety of puzzles to scramble your mind presented in a non-linear order, designed to accept multiple creative solutions. EXPLORE A UNIQUE ISLAND Use the Aeter Pendulum to find murky presences in areas scattered across the island: misty forests, infested buildings and mansions with spooky basements that appear to have been used as laboratories for the paranormal. Use your psychic abilities to find clues revealing what is about to happen on the island… Are you ready to lose yourself in a Victorian fantasy loaded with secrets and worlds within worlds?