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Terminal 81 Impressions

Terminal 81 takes you on a haunting journey through the crime-ridden streets of Terminal 81, a fictionalized São Paulo neighborhood in 2008. You step into the shoes of Lorena, a recent arrival struggling to make ends meet amidst a harsh economic climate. As a string of kidnappings throws the community into fear, you’ll find yourself not just trying to survive, but also unraveling the dark secrets lurking beneath the surface.

The game’s greatest strength lies in its ability to create a truly immersive atmosphere. The developers have opted for a lo-fi visual style that evokes a classic pixelated aesthetic. While not graphically groundbreaking, this choice perfectly complements the bleak and gritty world of Terminal 81. The desolate streets, cramped apartments, and flickering neon signs all contribute to a constant sense of unease.


Sound design further enhances the atmosphere. The sparse soundtrack leaves room for the ambient sounds of the neighborhood to take center stage. The creaking floorboards of your apartment, the distant sirens, and the hushed whispers of conversations create a palpable tension.

The central mystery surrounding the disappearances is undoubtedly intriguing. Bits and pieces of lore are scattered throughout the environment, waiting to be discovered through exploration and conversations with the neighborhood residents. These fragmented clues slowly build a picture of a sinister force at play.

However, Terminal 81’s ambition can be a double-edged sword. The open-world environment offers a sense of freedom, allowing you to explore the neighborhood at your own pace and engage in side quests. You can take on a job at the local supermarket to earn money for your apartment, which adds a layer of realism and forces you to engage with the community.

While these elements can be engaging, they can also detract from the central narrative. The open-world structure can feel overwhelming at times, and the focus on survival mechanics can pull you away from the core mystery. The supermarket job, while adding a layer of realism, can become repetitive, and some side quests might feel disconnected from the main story.

The world-building in Terminal 81 is commendable, but the character interactions leave something to be desired. Most conversations rely on text-based dialogue, which can be effective in conveying a sense of grounded realism. However, the interactions themselves can feel shallow. You don’t develop deep connections with the characters, which can make it harder to feel truly invested in their struggles.

Terminal 81 is a unique experience on the Xbox. If you’re looking for a tightly woven, character-driven narrative, you might be left wanting. However, if you enjoy atmospheric exploration, piecing together mysteries at your own pace, and experiencing a world steeped in social commentary, then Terminal 81 is definitely worth checking out. Just be prepared for an experience that prioritizes immersion over a linear narrative.

Additional Notes:

  • The text-based dialogue might feel slow for some players accustomed to fully voiced characters.
  • The open-world elements can be overwhelming if you prefer a more focused narrative experience.
  • The game tackles mature themes like poverty, crime, and human trafficking.


Article By

blank Kevin Austin has been in gaming journalism in one way or another since the launch of the Nintendo Gamecube. Married and father of 3 children he has been gaming since the ripe age of 6 when he got his first NES system and over 30 years later he is still gaming almost daily. Kevin is also co-founder of the Play Some Video Games (PSVG) Podcast network which was founded over five years ago and is still going strong. Some of his favorite gaming series includes Fallout and Far Cry, he is a sucker for single player adventure games (hence his big reviews for Playstation), and can frequently be found getting down in one battle royale or another. If it's an oddball game, odds are he's all about it.

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