Readers may know by now that I am a fan of first-person games where you walk around a lovely environment and get creeped out. Close To The Sun is not only one of those, but it also has a fun weird-alt-history plot where Tesla kicked Edison’s ass and created a giant floating ship-state of scientists in international waters.
You turn up on said ship after things have gone a bit tits up, obviously. Your sister was one of the scientists working on the ship, and she was doing something to do with time, which is obviously an inadvisable thing to do. You navigate the ship, occasionally making contact with her, Tesla himself, and a paternal and helpful third scientist trapped near the engines.
The pacing for the first half of the game really is excellent. The interior of the Helios is plush and sort of neo-Victorian steampunk, all highly polished wood and brass, and velvety upholstery, and you start finding unsettling things. Letters about spies, abandoned rooms, piles of dismembered dead bodies. Y’know, that ol’ chestnut. You’re stalked through the ship by both unseen monsters and an awful human serial killer. Creep-o-rama. Very stylish indeed.
It’s helped by a system that means some jump scares or creepy bits will only happen if you’re looking in the right direction, which means you don’t get that thing where a scary violin screech happens but you were busy arsing about somewhere else, and miss whatever you were supposed to catch sight of. Close To The Sun feels very sleek in that regard. No nervous moments wasted.
Sadly there are a couple of annoying insta-death chase sequences to get through, and once the unseen monsters become seen they also become much less frightening, which is always the way. But on the whole I really enjoyed Close To The Sun, and hope the abrupt ending is an indication that there’s more of it to come. A big sexy sequel in the works. A girl can dream, eh?