Somerville

Posted:  November 16, 2022
SDHQ BUILD SCORE: 
Cloud Saves
SDHQ Settings
Review
Game Info

SDHQ Recommended Settings

SteamOS
30 FPS
Limit
60
Refresh Rate
HRS
No
TDP Limit
9
Scaling Filter
Linear
GPU Clock
Disabled
Proton Version

No Forced Compatibility

Game Settings

No Changes In-Game

Projected Battery Usage and Temp
14W - 16W
68c - 78c
~2.5 hours

Review

From one of the minds behind INSIDE and Limbo, Somerville is a gripping tale of making your family whole again. Separated during the final moments of an alien invasion, you will embark on a journey to find your wife and child. Solve puzzles and traverse this unrecognizable landscape. Flee, negotiate, and learn from these aliens and unlock one of the multiple endings, hopefully finding what you need in the process. With a gameplay style that seems perfect for a portable device, we now get to ask our favorite question, how does this run on the Steam Deck?

Somerville: Performance

Unfortunately, my answer is not a happy one. Somerville is a hard game to run on Deck and regardless of what settings I changed, there was still the same issues. First, without any caps, the game hits around 38 FPS and 24W battery drain with up to 90c temps, with some spots going down to 23 FPS. This was on the default settings, going to the lowest pushed this to around 42 FPS with the same battery drain and temps. For this type of game, 30 does feel fine, but even this has its issues.

Somerville

Hitting 30 FPS requires at least a TDP of 9, which brings around a 16W drain. This is still pretty high and will only net around 2.5 to 3 hours of battery. However, this doesn't last the entire game. In about 60% of the areas I have encountered, the framerate will dip to around 15-20 FPS. This stays much longer than I want to and lifting any caps will still keep it below 30. I did test this with different proton layers, all of which giving the same results. No amount of settings I changed fixed these issues.

SomervilleHardSpot

Accessibility, Lack of Options, and Letterbox

Somerville is hard to run on the Deck already, but it is possible some accessibility and fleshed out graphical options could have helped. There isn't a ton of text in the game, but the parts where there is, including the menus, are a bit on the small side. This wasn't unreadable, but I did need to move my head toward the device a bit more to read it clearly. There is also a lack of in-depth graphical options to change, all culminating in 2 sliders: one for graphics quality and the other for SMAA. I do believe being able to fine-tune specific settings may have helped a bit, but alas, those options do not exist here.

Somerville was also designed with a letterbox format in mind (black bars at the top and bottom for movie-like effect). I can respect the artistry, but on the Steam Deck, this can make the game feel even smaller than it already can on a small screen. I felt this game was never really running at native resolution thanks to the letterbox, even though I know it was. Again, I can respect the format and the design choices for it, but it definitely doesn't benefit smaller screens to make the area of game that is shown even smaller.

SomervilleHuggingDog
I had to include this. I was able to hug the dog!

Conclusion

I went into this with high hopes and I do feel Somerville is a good game with an interesting story, but it can't run on Deck. With barely hitting 30 FPS 40% of the time and the other 60% sitting somewhere between 15-20, this can feel unbearably slow and difficult to get through. Granted, the game is playable and can run if you so choose to stomach the lower frames. Personally, unless it is a visual novel, 30 FPS is the lowest I can go.

SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

Somerville is an interesting sci-fi tale that has a lot going for it, unfortunately, none of that can be experienced well on the Steam Deck.

Performance: 
VISUALS: 
Stability: 
Controls: 
Battery: 
Reviewed By:
Noah Kupetsky
Steam Profile
Steam Deck Compatibility
Current Price: 
$24.99
View in Steam Store
Proton DB Rating
Unknown

Review

From one of the minds behind INSIDE and Limbo, Somerville is a gripping tale of making your family whole again. Separated during the final moments of an alien invasion, you will embark on a journey to find your wife and child. Solve puzzles and traverse this unrecognizable landscape. Flee, negotiate, and learn from these aliens and unlock one of the multiple endings, hopefully finding what you need in the process. With a gameplay style that seems perfect for a portable device, we now get to ask our favorite question, how does this run on the Steam Deck?

Somerville: Performance

Unfortunately, my answer is not a happy one. Somerville is a hard game to run on Deck and regardless of what settings I changed, there was still the same issues. First, without any caps, the game hits around 38 FPS and 24W battery drain with up to 90c temps, with some spots going down to 23 FPS. This was on the default settings, going to the lowest pushed this to around 42 FPS with the same battery drain and temps. For this type of game, 30 does feel fine, but even this has its issues.

Somerville

Hitting 30 FPS requires at least a TDP of 9, which brings around a 16W drain. This is still pretty high and will only net around 2.5 to 3 hours of battery. However, this doesn't last the entire game. In about 60% of the areas I have encountered, the framerate will dip to around 15-20 FPS. This stays much longer than I want to and lifting any caps will still keep it below 30. I did test this with different proton layers, all of which giving the same results. No amount of settings I changed fixed these issues.

SomervilleHardSpot

Accessibility, Lack of Options, and Letterbox

Somerville is hard to run on the Deck already, but it is possible some accessibility and fleshed out graphical options could have helped. There isn't a ton of text in the game, but the parts where there is, including the menus, are a bit on the small side. This wasn't unreadable, but I did need to move my head toward the device a bit more to read it clearly. There is also a lack of in-depth graphical options to change, all culminating in 2 sliders: one for graphics quality and the other for SMAA. I do believe being able to fine-tune specific settings may have helped a bit, but alas, those options do not exist here.

Somerville was also designed with a letterbox format in mind (black bars at the top and bottom for movie-like effect). I can respect the artistry, but on the Steam Deck, this can make the game feel even smaller than it already can on a small screen. I felt this game was never really running at native resolution thanks to the letterbox, even though I know it was. Again, I can respect the format and the design choices for it, but it definitely doesn't benefit smaller screens to make the area of game that is shown even smaller.

SomervilleHuggingDog
I had to include this. I was able to hug the dog!

Conclusion

I went into this with high hopes and I do feel Somerville is a good game with an interesting story, but it can't run on Deck. With barely hitting 30 FPS 40% of the time and the other 60% sitting somewhere between 15-20, this can feel unbearably slow and difficult to get through. Granted, the game is playable and can run if you so choose to stomach the lower frames. Personally, unless it is a visual novel, 30 FPS is the lowest I can go.

SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

Somerville is an interesting sci-fi tale that has a lot going for it, unfortunately, none of that can be experienced well on the Steam Deck.

Performance: 
VISUALS: 
Stability: 
Controls: 
Battery: 
Reviewed By:
Noah Kupetsky
Steam Profile

SDHQ Recommended Settings

SteamOS
30 FPS
Limit
60
Refresh Rate
HRS
No
TDP Limit
9
Scaling Filter
Linear
GPU Clock
Disabled
Proton Version

No Forced Compatibility

Game Settings

No Changes In-Game

Projected Battery Usage and Temp
14W - 16W
68c - 78c
~2.5 hours
Steam Deck Compatibility
Current Price: 
$24.99
View in Steam Store
Proton DB Rating
Unknown

Other Builds & Information

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