The Cambridge Geek


It would appear that survival games, when they're in this first person, slightly silly format, are my jam. Like the previous Raft and The Long Dark, this game throws you into a difficult environment with nothing but your wits and some basic tools to stay alive.

Here, the dangerous environment is space, probably the least friendly place to find yourself. It's terribly cold, the atmosphere is annoying vacant and if, like our protagonist here, you've opted for the cheaper end of the spacesuit line, you've got a rather unhelpful AI offering you advice on how to make the best of it. I bet you wish the spaceship you were on hadn't exploded and killed everybody but you now, right?

My favourite sort of tips. Obvious.

Surviving means acquiring food, water and enough heat not to freeze to death, while attempting to make contact with the rescue team and not asphyxiate. You've got a very limited oxygen supply in your suit (eventually upgradeable, though currently not very far) which means you can only leave your little shuttle for short trips. This is the most frustrating part of the game, as even though there are ways and means to improve the breathing situation, it's always going to feel hurried getting what you need from the depths of space.

And you need a lot. There's metal, ice, bits of electrical equipment, some worryingly biological items and more than a few things that are nearly as deadly as space itself. As you might expect, these things have to be combined and managed in a tech tree in order to create more elaborate devices, like jetpacks and hammers.

Always useful.

The suit AI acts as a narrator of sorts, filling in bits of background about the wreckage you're digging through. As seen in nearly all games with an AI nowadays, this is both sarcastic and more than a bit cruel. It's still enjoyable, but I'm beginning to long for something different. Can anyone suggest a game with a whimsical or cheerful narrator? Something similar to parts of The Stanley Parable possibly. Shout in the comments.

There's a bit of a learning curve here. It took me a few deaths to work out the basics (the tutorial isn't quite as helpful as it could be), and the oxygen problem is definitely a low point. You're going to feel pushed for time more or less constantly, which is good for tension, but bad for the desire to enjoy the scenery. That's a shame, because the game gives you some cool vistas to take in, and I'd have liked to be able to gaze at some of them for longer. In general it's a visually pleasing game, both the wider space aspect and the interface/equipment elements.

If lost in space, remember - the enemy's gate is down.

It's only fair to warn you that this is currently on Early Access/In Dev, (get it on GOG, as of writing it's cheaper there), and that means it is somewhat limited, only containing one chapter out of five. Means you'll likely get through it in about four hours. However, there should be another four chapters, which will hopefully expand both the story and a few gameplay features. I'll be looking out for the rest of them.

Score 4

Tagged: Game Survival First person Hard difficulty PC