Wot I Think: STASIS

Stasis [official site] is a traditional point and click adventure game with a sci-fi horror theme. Successfully Kickstarted by tiny South African studio The Brotherhood in 2013, it was released yesterday. Join me for some space-screaming.

Perhaps the main reason adventure games and I broke up is that I found them too arbitrary to take seriously. The puzzles were so often at odds with the setting or theme, necessitating a suspension of disbelief (either that there really only are three usable objects in this room, or that the protagonist is simply too stupid to try anything else) that I was increasingly unwilling to provide in order to commune with some designer’s lateral thinking, or some writer’s gags. Even Grim Fandango, the last adventure game I loved, was guilty of this: that wonderful sense of journey regularly disrupted by an inherent illogic. I don’t enjoy puzzling for puzzling’s sake – but when it’s a puzzle which propels a game’s events onwards, that’s a different matter entirely. STASIS is all about momentum rather than stop-start headscratching. The majority of its puzzles act as natural stepping stones along its journey into body-horror darkness, not obstacles. It flows.

And that’s not the only reason it’s a triumph. STASIS punches so far above its weight that I almost can’t believe it exists. It’s also absolutely, unashamedly horrific.

Here’s the setup: sometime towards the end of this century, you awaken aboard a spaceship you don’t recognise. You appear to be the only survivor, but cling to the hope that your family are still out there somewhere. Which seems unlikely, given something terrible has clearly occurred during your time in cryogenic stasis: there is ruin, there is blood, there are nightmarish noises and flickering lights all around. Find out what happened/survive/find your family.

If that sounds like it owes a debt to pretty much any horror-tinged science fiction touchstone you can think of, well, yeah. System Shock, BioShock, Alien, Event Horizon, Sunshine, The Thing, Dead Space, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers – it’s all in the mix, and I don’t think anyone involved in the game would claim otherwise, but in the main its well-judged tone and its fealty to its own, often shocking gruesomeness keep STASIS feeling only like STASIS, not a collection of tropes. It has a universe and a backstory far bigger than the events of the game, hinting at a legacy of dark science and societal follies which eventually led to the tragedies and ordeals you face.

Even a section which may well have been inspired by, of all things, Prometheus’ ridiculous self-inflicted robo-surgery scene is so carefully-structured in terms of both logic and grotesque execution that the last thing it feels like is a second-hand idea. It’s like that throughout – pushing borrowed concepts into new places, not simply referencing them, so that they almost always seem like STASIS’ own. It’s all about the ship. Everything, every freakish, horrible thing on it, serves a purpose, has a reason to be there, has a grim pay-off.

I should emphasise here that STASIS does not pay mere lip-service to body horror. I can’t say too much without spoilers, but Christ, it really goes for it. Some of it is mercifully obfuscated by the bird’s eye view and constant gloom, relying on written description to get across how horrendous the purported sight in front of you is, but other scenes pull no punches. STASIS’ isometric, 2D art sometimes looks a little retro, but other times like baroque, ludicrously elaborate movie concept art, and it employs its minimal animation to spectacularly gruesome effect.

Its storyline too is a sustained descent into stomach-churning darkness, and even though it might dangle a carrot of hope in front of you at all times, some of its twists and turns are shocking. In a few cases it goes all the way into shock factor, in a way which feels salacious rather than in meaningful service to its setting, but in the main it’s hard not to get a twisted kick out of all the visual and written detail it provides for its world-gone-wrong. Definitely, definitely don’t play STASIS in easily-distressed company.

I marvel at how complete STASIS is. It has a world, it has a vision, it has real dedication to thematic monstrousness and, for the most part, all of its puzzles are in service to its excursion into hell. Particularly in the first part of the game, what it most reminded of was the original Half-Life. You’re an ordinary guy living on his wits as nightmare creatures invade and the environment collapses around him. Sure, Half-Life involved thousands of bullets, but it also had that faintly puzzlesome, Rick Dangerous element to it – co-opting weird machines, using environmental destruction to open up new paths, dodging death at every turn.

Unusually for a modern adventure game, you can in fact die in STASIS, though only at around 20 specific junctures (most of which are just for ‘fun’, or at least achievements). While this reinforces the nightmare fantasy of it all, it is perhaps a reminder why adventure games at large decided to ditch fatality: it’s just a bit annoying, tilting the game too far into trial and error. This is particularly, frustratingly the case in an almost quicktime event-like sequence around the halfway point, which requires you to repeat several minutes of unskippable exposition, animation and button-pushing every time you cock it up.

This comes hot on the heels of the one puzzle I thought was disruptive rather than, Half-Life style, propelling you forwards on your journey – the sort which requires taking notes and cycling on-screen buttons through dozens of possible combinations. All the information you need is hidden around nearby rooms, but the internal logic of it falls apart, and between that and the quicktime-ish event I was braced for STASIS to collapse into that which I truly fear.

Mercifully, it pulled back, switching instead to ever-more dramatic scenery and puzzles which once again inclined towards the instinctive – that Gordon Freemanish, ‘I bet this will… yes!’ quality. STASIS won’t often stretch your lateral thinking muscles far, but what it does do is make you feel like you’re using your wits to carve a path through a deadly place. The puzzles are, in the main, about thoughtful use of the environment around you, and not about suddenly finding a use for one of the half-dozen ridiculous items you’ve been carrying around in your pocket for the last hour.

Its final third perhaps takes this too far, providing so few Xs to use with so few Ys that the puzzling seems like perfunctory interaction peppered across ornate but static background art someone was determined to find a use for. The portentous, lonely exploration aspect also fades, as plot takes over, and disappointingly cartoonish boo-hiss baddies take centre stage. But even if there’s a nagging sense that STASIS didn’t quite figure out how to provide a truly satisfying denouement, it at least remains entirely true to itself until the titles roll.

Allowing itself a straight sprint to the finish line also feels very much earned. The quality of its first three-quarters, from its sumptuously repulsive creature art to its gigantic-yet-claustrophobic industrial environments, and the way its survival-focused puzzles fly you forwards on dark wings of logic, would be impressive if they came from a Double Fine-sized studio, let alone a game whose credits take less time to read than a bus ticket.

Even the sound design is superb – all the clanging noises and distant screaming you’d expect from a spaceship horror game, but staying on the right side of stereotype, and augmenting it with the eerie chatter of BioShocky broken advertising, ungodly squelching noises and barely-there music which fades in and out like a fever dream, rather than sucker-punches us into melodrama. It is, truly, a mystery how STASIS’ handful of developers pulled all this off.

The only fly in the ointment is the character work. STASIS’ lead triptych are essentially plot motivations in flesh-suits rather than believable personalities, while the many, backstory-fuelling diaries littered around the doomed ship tend to reduce the unseen, now-dead crew to ‘phwoar, sex, eh?’, moustache-twirling villainy or oh-remember-me instant tragedy.

A few entries hit harder, and one of the protagonist’s primary objectives has gut-churning urgency to it, but really no-one manages to be even a fraction as convincing or compelling as the ship they all live(d) on. The guy voicing the protagonist puts in a pretty decent performance, including some particularly impressive full-throated roars of horror and hatred, but there’s a slightly disjointed element to the character’s behaviour, plus some weird disconnects when he shows no reaction to absolutely horrendous revelations, simply because they weren’t told as part of the main plot.

I could dismiss that stuff as simply nitpicking at an extremely accomplished adventure game, but the thing is that STASIS is clearly trying to be a character-led tale as well a horror story, and so its unevenness in that regard is palpably distracting. If you can put that aside and treat it purely as a trek through an improbably detailed (and often improbably horrible) environment, motivated by that sick desire to discover what awful things lie deeper into this dread ship’s iron bowels, STASIS is a triumph. It does have a few contrived or infuriating puzzles, but these are so dramatically outweighed by smartly fluid ones which genuinely heighten STASIS’ drama so as not to matter.

Despite some characterisation wobbles and a somewhat perfunctory final mile, STASIS is the best adventure game I’ve played in years. It’s also one of the most impressive horror games I’ve played lately. The tiny team behind it have done remarkable things, far in excess of what many, much larger studios seem capable of. Those studios should be afraid – be very afraid.

Faintly tedious technical addendum: despite extensive fiddling and communication with the devs, I could not get the game to load on Windows 10 with an NVIDIA GTX 970. I played on a laptop with Win 10 & Intel graphics in the end. Also unfortuantely there are no graphics settings to speak of, including resolution, though you can achieve some scaling by ini file editing.

STASIS is out now.

From this site

65 Comments

  1. Zallgrin says:

    It’s said that most of the puzzles are fairly easy and intuitive to unravel, but I am truly the worst person at adventure games. If I needed a walkthrough on the Blackwell games and recent The Fall game to finish them, will I need a walkthrough for Stasis as well?

    I just can’t decide when to buy this game =/

    • Alec Meer says:

      I’m not great at these things either, but I made it on my own. There are a handful of puzzles that you may need a walkthrough for depending on how patient you are, and there’s one particular one in the middle which will almost certainly involve some swearing. That said, three times I wrote a draft mail to the devs begging for help, but Just One More go got me through every time.

      • Zallgrin says:

        Thank you, I suppose I might buy it this weekend! Let’s hope I’m better at this than I think I am

  2. Shazbut says:

    Joy! Well, I’ll be buying this then.

    Alec, I entirely agree with your first paragraph. You should have a sit down with John about this. The resulting conversation would probably make for good reading. Do you like Gemini Rue? I thought that had some of the best implemented puzzles I’d seen. They were well tied to common sense and propelling the narrative forward

  3. tomimt says:

    Yeah, Stasis is an impressive achievment. It’s rare to see a game with such a razor sharp focus on what it is and tries to do. It definetly puts a lot of games made by much bigger teams and budgets to shame.

  4. Chris Bischoff says:

    What an wonderful review! Thank you so much for taking the time to play Stasis and to write about it.

    Its been my life for half a decade now – sending it out into the world is an extremely harrowing experience. Its like sending your kid to school and watching his graduation in the same day.

    Glad that you enjoyed it – and hopefully if it does well enough we can do even more!

    • Goodtwist says:

      It surely did arouse my interest. Congratulations to your fabulous work!

      • Chris Bischoff says:

        Much appreciated! If you do play the game – please either drop us a line with your thoughts, or write a Steam/GOG review!
        I’m fighting against the common advice of ‘don’t read comments on the internet’ – good or bad I’m obsessively reading everything that people are saying about the game. :D

        • subedii says:

          Hey dude, one of your kickstarter backers here, looking forward to finally trying it out. :)

          BTW, any suggested ETA on the linux version? Not to suggest you guys don’t need one HEFTY break right now, just wondering.

    • Premium User Badge

      caff says:

      I’d been reading about this sceptically for a while (probably as sceptical as you’ve been about getting good reviews) but this article has convinced me to buy it!

  5. Ben Barrett says:

    Holy crap. I was hoping for good things but that sounds wonderful.

  6. Goodtwist says:

    6/10 then.

  7. Premium User Badge

    Philopoemen says:

    Glad I backed this one on KS – kudos to the guys. Now to finish my multiple SRHK runs before starting this.

  8. bastianTheLast says:

    Played this when I woke up and darn now shat my pants a few times. Now I am late for work. Fuck these guys. I’m hooked.

  9. JFS says:

    Damn, I thought I could justify holding off until it gets discounted. This review makes it hard to.

  10. H-Alien says:

    Played a bit today and sofar I’m loving it. It brings back memories of all those stand out classics (It almost feels like Sanitarium in a System Shock 2 environment…pure bliss), need to continue to see if Stasis is another classic but it’s looking very promising sofar…

  11. malkav11 says:

    I’m not sure I agree that the puzzles flow as well as all that. I got stuck -hard- quite early on until I investigated something I’d had no particular reason to poke at based purely on a couple of people saying “help, I keep dying when I try to use on ” online. A little later I solved another puzzle with two objects I’d had no reason to pick up other than “I can” to retrieve a third object I desperately needed but had no reason to think would be there other than “I just got the ability to access this area”. But I haven’t played very far in yet, I don’t think, and hopefully this is why you say “in the main” and not “all of the puzzles”. That said, it totally makes sense to use the objects in the way that I did, and it makes sense for them to be where they were, so it’s not like it’s 2015’s cat hair moustache puzzle. And yeah, fantastic atmosphere.

    • malkav11 says:

      use “thing I hadn’t seen anywhere” on “thing I was trying to do”. Silly me, of course the comments eat HTML brackets, even if it’s not real HTML.

  12. Rumpelstilskin says:

    So, what’s actually great about it? From what I gather from the review, it has one-dimensional stereotypical characters, a plot involving “cartoonish baddies”, and its puzzles, while logical and justified, are rather forgettable (with a couple of exceptions that stand out, but for wrong reasons). Is it just atmosphere and pacing?
    I guess I’ll still play it anyway, so just asking.

    • H-Alien says:

      For me sofar (early on) it is indeed mainly atmosphere, for me that is the main selling point for any game so I’m fine with that :)

    • tomimt says:

      Stasis is pretty much a tour de force of atmosphere. It seeps from the graphics, sound design, music and the plot. It has its kinks, like sometimes the UI doesn’t feel at all responsive and there’s a certain amount of pixel hunting as well. But overall the strenghts of the atmosphere of it trump over the negatives.

  13. thelastpointer says:

    I need this game.

    I wonder how long is it? I haven’t played many games like this, but I really can’t resist sci-fi horrors.

    • cqdemal says:

      I finished it in 7.5 hours, read everything I came across and got stuck hard twice.

  14. plugav says:

    Huh, Steam is really ripping people off on this one, compared to GOG (25 vs. 16 EUR, not counting the current 20% price reduction).

    • RimeOfTheMentalTraveller says:

      I don’t know what the reason for the switch back is, but speaking personally, I’m glad GOG went back to using dollars. Yes, after the dollar jumped up at the end of last year, it’s only 15-20 “cents” of my currency cheaper than what the euro costs, but still.

      • plugav says:

        Hm… The GOG prices for me are still in euro. And even if they’re converted directly from dollars (as opposed to Steam’s bad math: “24,99 USD equals 24,99 EUR, for sure”), it still doesn’t explain the difference in this case.

  15. golem09 says:

    I keep checking howlongtobeat.com more and more often just to see just about how long a game is before I play it. Would that be an option for you? Just note done below your “reviews” how long the game is? Maybe just in categories of <5 hours, 5-10, 10-20, 20-40, 40+ or something?

    • Rumpelstilskin says:

      “How long to beat” is as reliable as online penis size polls. Beating a game “fast” seems to be a point of pride for many gamers, so no one will report ‘uncool’ times, and I suspect many people there simply lie. At least for me those times are often up to 2 times smaller than it takes me to finish a game, even if I don’t feel I was stuck at anything for too long. Maybe I’m just bad though.

      • Alec Meer says:

        Yeah, rest assured we’ll say if something’s too short or too long, but numbers are pretty meaningless unless you take an average of a whole bunch of people whose reports you trust.

      • ToomuchFluffy says:

        Agreed on “howlongtobeat”. I always end up with significantly higher numbers.

        And for people who played through “Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs” the numbers were somewhere between 2-7 hours!!! But frankly, anything below three hours might have just been made up.

      • alms says:

        Agreed on the speedrunners plague and seriously people who post a time skipping all the dialogue off an adventure game or narrative driven game for their first playthrough shouldn’t be posting anywhere else than in the speedrunning category, but…

        That’s easy to fix, you just look at the high end of the spectrum instead of focusing on averages. Which actually is making me think I should probably submit a suggestion to HLTB to include a distribution chart, but I digress.

        Your mileage will still keep varying because you might be better at certain games/genre and worse at others or simply planets align on a given day and not another, but I find, after having gained some familiarity with the tool, I get useful information about games’ lengths.

  16. vahnn says:

    What a bunch of inconsiderate jerks. Don’t they realize I already have too many games to play? Now I have to add another to the list. Jerks, I say!

  17. bunotato says:

    I like the game so far (only played it for a short hour), however: Everything takes forever. The elevator, conversations, running around even when double clicking is fairly slow – thus I find myself doing something else on the side, waiting for an action to complete. What I’d like would be a way to skip an animation altogether, like it worked in A New Beginning. That feature alone made that game much better. Just let me read the subtitles and skip the slow voice reading it to me, and let me walk to places instantly. There is no point in slowing it down, it just makes it boring. Example: I had to get a certain information at the beginning, and realizing that I’ll have to go back to the elevator, get that thing, get back into the elevator… that alone makes me want to quit the game. I know the developer looks at this, so I hope it gets better.

  18. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    What kind of masochistic freak deliberately plays and reviews games in a genre he hasn’t enjoyed in over 15 years?

    • Alec Meer says:

      Someone who played the beta demo two years ago because the aesthetic was appealing, and liked what he experienced then.

    • ToomuchFluffy says:

      And people like me, who are afraid of missing good story/atmosphere. Mixed results, as I have to confess, but I would have missed “The Cat Lady”, which single-handedly has made all the annoying puzzling worth-while.

      I actually only discovered “STASIS” today when checking steam and I immediately got a good feeling about it. The last time that happened to me with a game, was with “Dungeon Siege 3” and I was completely right about it. But it will have to wait a bit. Backlog has priority and I’m still working on “Gothic”. And next month “SOMA” arrives in all its glory :-)

      • H-Alien says:

        Ha, I feel for you. I’m also on my first Gothic playthrough at the moment. Just combined it with a bit of Stasis today ;)

  19. criskywalker says:

    It’s easy to see when a game was done with passion and love.
    Take note, AAA developers!

  20. RimeOfTheMentalTraveller says:

    Interesting that the nitpick about characterisation is certainly one of my main problems with Alien: Isolation, which is otherwise a superb game. Emphasis on game though, as the actual characters and plot somewhat paled to the worldbuilding of Sevastopol and the stories scattered around in the various archives. Anyway, you definitely sold me on this game, I will be buying it once I acquire some money.

  21. Risingson says:

    I find it funny that with EVERY review of a modern adventure a guy complains about the puzzles being too difficult and other complains about them being too easy. It all ends with the first parragraph: a why this does not ring to ME, why I don’t want MYSELF to think about the others. ME as more important than what I am talking about. The generalization of design choices in adventure games is just insulting. I cannot trust your analysis in any game with narrative if you begin with such a declaration of “I hate these kind of games”. It’s the same as a movie critic saying that he hates musicals – which actually they exist, or well, not really: a movie critic should appreciate all the genres for what they are.

    Angry back-to-work rant off. I will check the game anyway, although it sounds like a feast of Nolan-like overexposition.

    • alms says:

      Except he never said he hates adventure games, rather than the last one he loved was a long time ago, and also explains why that is the case.

  22. Zenicetus says:

    Looks interesting, I’ll probably get it after wading through the current backlog.

    I was glad to read Alec’s comment about the puzzles in Grim Fandango, because that’s how that game hit me too. I had never played it before, so I bought the new remastered version in the last Steam sale. The atmosphere, music, and characters were splendid. But I had to look up too many puzzle solutions online, so I ragequit about halfway through and haven’t gone back yet. Too many of the puzzles defied logic, because the game refused to provide enough clues. Or they had no logic at all, and felt like something the designer just pulled out of their ass at random, to block the player’s progress.

    It sounds like this game, with just a few exceptions here and there, might be more respectful of the player’s time investment. So I’ll give it a shot.

  23. horus_lupercal says:

    Im so glad this gmae has turned out well, I played the demo a few years back and loved what I experienced. Now I jsut have to wait for it to download and lose myself in the Groomlake :-D

  24. thebigJ_A says:

    Why’s it locked at an awful, blurry resolution?

    No matter what you do in the config it’s only displaying at like 720.. :/

    • Chris Bischoff says:

      It is a 2D prerendered game with each screen being a maximum of 1280 x 720. :)

      • H-Alien says:

        I play it in windowed mode with a black background to retain the original resolution. Just press alt+enter to change to windowed mode.

        • thebigJ_A says:

          Well you can set it to windowed in the cofig, but what’s an easy way to make everything else black?

          • thebigJ_A says:

            Sure I can hide everything and change my background, but that’s a hassle.
            Plus there’s still the borders

      • thebigJ_A says:

        But. But…

        Why would it be pre-rendered in an arbitrary resolution nobody uses, and that’s lower than most? And why’s that prevent it from displaying in 1080?

        • PancakeWizard says:

          Yeah I don’t have a particularly big monitor and it still looks like giant mode. I wouldn’t care if it meant more ‘black’ on my screen, as long as I could change it. No 1680×1050? :(

      • DevilishEggs says:

        My five-year-old laptop is squeeing with joy

  25. aircool says:

    I want to try this, but it’s 11pm and my partner is asleep so it’s dark in the house and I’d have to wear headphones.

    • malkav11 says:

      Which is exactly the correct environment to be playing a game like Stasis in.

  26. Chthonic says:

    Alec, this is a very well-written WIT, good on you. The game looks solid too!

  27. alms says:

    Well, I’ve been sort of waiting for this game since day 1 or 2, and now I feel a little unsold: it just sounds too horrific for my tastes.

    • grrrz says:

      it’s not so much that it’s scary or nerve-wracking but that it’s really creepy and disgusting at times

  28. fenriz says:

    [quote]The majority of its puzzles act as natural, not obstacles. It flows.[/quote]

    sorry, don’t know how to use quotes.

    that’s an extrrreeemely personal and biased comment, entirely based on your mood of the hour, your tea or the rain. Whether something feels flowing or unnatural. Yes, that’s the first thing psychologists will hear off a patient.

    • fenriz says:

      personally i never questioned adventure games. That’s a world with its own rules, so it has its puzzles, and you passively accept it. viva passivity.

      “logics” is not universal, it’s subjective, there’s many logics.

  29. Iajawl says:

    Nice review. Will definitely try this game out as it looks like a fairly unique experience.

  30. GHudston says:

    I bought Stasis on the back of this review and I feel like I need to post a warning here (no spoilers):

    If you intend to play this, save constantly and keep a number of saves at once. There is no autosave feature and the game is alarmingly buggy. I had to start my game over and replay about an hour or so of the game because I became stuck outside of a room, walking about on the backdrop unable to get back onto the floor. Later I had to go back to a much earlier save because I had died and the game was restarting just moments before, trapping me in a loop of dying, reloading and immediately dying again.

    Unfortunately for me, this tore me right out of the superb atmosphere that everyone is rightly raving about and left me frustrated with the rest of the game. I’m a little baffled by this review actually. While not necessarily a bad thing, Stasis suffers from all of the things you mention at the start of the article as reasons for your “break up” with adventure games.

  31. syllopsium says:

    Excellent, I’ll put it on my list. The trailer is high on atmosphere and low on actual gameplay, so it’s good to get a proper viewpoint.

  32. grrrz says:

    great experience.
    On a technical note I was a bit annoyed by the constantly changing volume and a not balanced at all mix (some sounds very quiet, other very loud, when you go into the menu the volume seems to change, and it’s not smooth at all). besides this music and atmosphere in itself pretty good, even if the suction present from beginning to end is a little enerving.
    I had a weird bug after the tram where my character disapperead, but it got better after reloading. anyway you should save often because there are a lot of ways to die (and the basic principle of this kind of game is to try everything, including the dying scenarios).
    puzzles are pretty well balanced, the very rich environment sometimes makes it hard to understand what’s going on, or where you can walk (got stuck not knowing i could go under a small bridge). living characters are forgettable, but in contrast the notes give very rich stories to the dead.

  33. Babymech says:

    Bought this based on the recommendations here and elsewhere, sorely disappointed:

    – The gameplay is traditional to a fault – slow, mostly unvaried, and occasionally janky. The deaths are particularly annoying as they mostly just punish you for doing normal adventure game stuff – case in point, in one instance ‘Look’ing at an object makes your character cross the room for no reason, walking himn directly into an obvious death trap. Luckily checkpoints are everywhere, which mitigates this, but some of the repetitions become frustrating, and the deaths add very litte.

    – The puzzles suffer from the traditional “use everything on everything” approach. Some of them are reasonable, others absurd (smash the organs you found with your empty gun – why not?), but few are clever. Unfortunately the game often fails to strike a balance in terms of hand-holding – either the game pulls you along by the nose, or it decides to leave you in the dark about why your character wants to do anything, what the obstacle is, or why your solution actually works. Sometimes mashing object X into object Y just results in your character standing there silent, indicating that you’re halfway to a solution but not explaining why.

    – The sound design is obviously thought through, but doesn’t add much to the game for me. Sudden screams, sobs or laughs on an apparently abandoned ship do not so much add to the atmosphere as raise the question of why your character wouldn’t immediately try to find out where they’re coming from. Most of the game you don’t see another living person, so I’d think sudden nearby screams would prompt an investigation.

    The graphic design is dark and muddled – for most of the game it’s just an ugly, generic scifi+corpses palette that’s dull and confusing to look out (the hydroponics lab, late in the game, stands out as a welcome break from the dark grays). This goes so far that the designers felt a need to put shiny sparks on interactable objects, since nothing stands out from the dull background, but annoyingly fail to do so consistently, meaning that becoming conditioned to look for the sparks leaves you likely to miss out on the objects that haven’t been helpfully separated from the background.

    – The writing is a mixed bag. The inexplicable trope of PDA diaries all over the ship is out in force, but luckily they’re all surprisingly well written, with strong and distinct tones and characters clearly evinced in each fragment. Unfortunately the plot as a whole is a shoddy patchwork of three to four superficially explored sci-fi plots, and hoary over-used narrative devices (the aformentioned PDA diaries and the lone female survivor guiding you over the radio, intercut with the bad guy breaking in now and then, stand out as particularly egregious).

    As for some of the other comments here, I guess that there are different versions – my game has been completely bug-free (unless the lack of contextual clues to some of the puzzles is actually a bug and not just an oversight), and the autosaves are frequent (every single room). I enjoyed the game as whole, but would have enjoyed it so much more if it hadn’t been for review like this WIT that make this out to be something other than the traditional janky adventure game experience. Go into this game expecting something like I have no mouth and I must scream, or Sanitarium, with all the flaws and positives of those games. Creepy but not scary, traditional and un-impressive, and a bit superficial all around.

  34. Xantonze says:

    Very bland and disappointing game.
    I second the previous message on every point.
    Most of all, the plot is pretty weak, with an utterly crappy ending that totally fails to live up to the long build-up, and manages to be at the same time fairly obvious, and completely stupid, leaving the player dumbfounded regarding the motivations of the “villain” (and also the reactions of the hero after some key events).

    I don’t get the praise for this at all, and feel bad for having lost 6 or so hours with this drab story and weak puzzles.