Teotl Studios along with Grip Digital have announced the next update to The Solus Project, The Highpoint Expansion. The third free update to come to the game, The Highpoint Expansion will allow players to venture ever deeper into the world of The Solus Project and begin to understand even more of what has happened on the planet.
This huge update will allow players to explore the new and very vertical Highpoint island, along with its accompanying massive cave level. You’ll come across acid lakes, dozens of strange flying orbs, new caves, a monstrous creature and finally the massive windmill. All this adds up to over three hours worth of additional story and gameplay. Alongside this expansion a huge patch is being released addressing known bugs and balancing dozens of existing features. Check out the official site for further information on this update.
The Highpoint Expansion will be available for free to Xbox One players tomorrow, 15th April.
Mike gives us a preview into some uncharted territory, this is a preview based on the current version of the Solus Project, things in the game may change as bugs are squashed gameplay is altered, be sure to check out a review if the game releases.
The Earth has been destroyed and the last survivors roam on a fleet of ships searching for a new home (sounds a bit like Battlestar Galactica). As part of this resettlement a team of research ships are dispatched to potential Earth like planets to survey them. You are on one of these ships but after an accident you have ended up stranded on an Alien Planet, the rest of the crew is presumed dead and you must now try to contact your fleet so you can be rescued while trying to survive.
When I first saw The Solus Project was a survival based game I hoped that it would not fall into the same style of game like ARK and others where you have to find food, rest, build shelters etc, focusing very much on construction and survival than undertaking any other tasks, thankfully I was reassured. The Solus Project is a survival game but focusses more on exploration and adventure with a side order of survival just to keep the tension and suspense.
The opening scenes start to tease you on the real mystery and beauty of this game. Just when you’re admiring the planet from your research ship disaster strikes and you’re left plummeting to the planet surface in an escape pod wondering if you will live to tell the tale. After you crash on the planet you then come to realise just how alone you are. Armed with just a PDA that gives you limited information on your physical condition and the surrounding area a brief tutorial introduces you to the game teaching you basic survival techniques from finding food to making torches and shelter. This will hopefully give you the tools to survive but what you do next is down to you.
As you wander the planet trying to find pieces of salvage to make better tools and uncover what is really going on you cant help but notice the stunning detail that Teotl Studios, the development team has gone to. Every surface has real depth to it, the plants and bushes react as you walk by and if you look up you notice the sun or moon tracking across the sky, this in turn controls the tides (yes they have put a tidal system in the game) and midday brings extreme heat and the night sub-zero temperatures. This is by far the most involved environment mechanics in any game I have played in a long time and because of this you get so drawn in with the basic concept of trying to survive as you are never sure whats around the corner. I am one of these players that takes their time and always treads carefully in games, checking corners to make sure I wont get jumped but as I played I felt my adrenalin rising and real awareness of the games surroundings as if my real survival instincts had started to kick in.
The control system is perfect for this game, simple movement, jump, interaction with objects and the environment and accessing you inventory. This means rather than loosing yourself in huge complex controls to undertake the simplest tasks you can focus more on surviving and the game itself.
For those people who like Xbox achievements in a game, well there is none, instead the achievements come in the form of discovering the hidden secrets that cover the planet and trust me there are loads. If you are the sort of person that just follows the core game then you are going to miss so much as I found out the first time I played. Having managed to negotiate myself finally through a sealed gate (not going to tell you how I did that) I then moved through a cave system. On reaching the other side I was informed I’d found 3 out of 20 potential hidden secrets, oops, oh well time to go back.
The only real downside to the game is the episodes shortness. The game itself is being released in segments and so if you just follow the basic track you can finish the first episode in a hour or so, but as I explained the real depth of this game is when you explore and by doing this you can lose yourself in the game for many hours. Like any good TV series though you reach that point where you hit the end of the first episode and are greeted with the message to be continued in part 2, Arghh.. and just when you start to uncover some real information on whats going on.
The Solus Project is a game to watch, literally, and even though it’s in review it’s well worth the £11.99 asking price and is a must for all explorers, survivalist and general nomads out there. As I write this though part 2 may have just dropped so I’m off to uncover the truth, I just hope I make it.
Thanks to Teotl Studios and Xbox for supporting TiX
Teotl Studios have been working on and, indeed, showing off, their upcoming sci-fi styled suvival adventure, The Solus Project for a few months now and to be fair, it does look excellent.
With the human race on the brink of destruction, The Solus Project will strand you on a distant unknown planet with the aim to survive the harsh, volatile environments while trying to figure out how to save mankind.
The game, by the team behind Unmechanical Extended, has a first episode hitting the Xbox One Game Preview programme today, with further episodes scheduled to release at later dates. These will open new regions, completing the puzzle with the final, full release this spring.
Jakub Mikyska, GRIP digital’s CEO;
The Solus Project is not only one of the very few narrative-driven survival games, but also one of the first games of its kind being released via Xbox One Game Preview in the same launch window as its Steam counterpart. All the upcoming updates leading to spring 2016 full version release will launch on Xbox One and Steam simultaneously, ensuring content parity for players on both platforms.
Ultimately, you’ll find out in the game, are you really alone?
The Solus Project, the unique single-player survival game by Teotl Studios and GRIP Digital is coming to the Xbox Game Preview program on February 26th. This will give you an opportunity to play the game and experience it’s true depth from fully dynamic environment and weather systems, to the mystery’s and secrets hidden within the miles and miles of uncharted planet.
Speaking about the annoucement Jakub Mikyska, CEO of GRIP Digital said “With the flood of run-of-the-mill survival sandbox games around us, we can’t wait to show the players something different – a narrative-driven, single player survival experience, full of mystery and millennia-old secrets waiting to be unraveled”
“After more than two years of development, we are ready to show our vision of what survival games could be – a hand-crafted adventure about the struggle between a man and nature and mankind’s will to survive,” added Sjoerd De Jong, CEO of Teotl Studios.
Stranded on a deserted alien planet and with mankind on the brink of destruction, The Solus Project challenges you to survive the harsh, volatile environment, while looking for a way to save the human race. Confronted with merciless weather, and danger lurking around every corner, you will have to unravel the deep secrets of the seemingly deserted alien civilization. Are you alone…?
The Solus Project will have episodic content updates on Xbox Game Preview, offering a new part of the complex alien world to explore with every update, as well as continuation of the story. The final version of the game is due for release in May 2016 but in the meantime check out the new trailer below.
As we get closer and closer to August’s Gamescom, we are beginning to hear more about what will be appearing at this years convention in Cologne.
Teotl Studios, the Swedish developer behind The Ball and Unmechanical for the PC have teamed up with GRIP Digital to announce that their upcoming title will launch as a console exclusive on ID@Xbox alongside the PC release.
The Solus Project, a space survival game, see’s you stranded on an alien planet and in order to save the people of Earth you must overcome the grim conditons and find a way to send a signal home.
The title is scheduled for release on PC and Xbox One early in 2016…
The Solus Project will be playable at the Microsoft booth at Gamescom this August.
Grip Games like to slip an announcement out every now and again. They can be a little bit sneaky about it too. This time, they’ve teamed up with Unmechanical: Extended developer, Teotl Studios, to bring a new survival sci-fi epic to your console.
The Solus Project is set in the year 2183 where a dying Earth’s last hope crash lands on the uncharted world of Gliese 6143-C. Alone, you have to explore the planet, create beacons and above all, survive.
But are you alone?
The Solus Project is due to be written-up and presented to the waiting world, early in 2016.
Nothing pleases me more than robots. Big robots, small robots, transforming robots, cute little robots with a hint of steampunk and a propeller on their head, all appeal in equal measure. Previously released on Steam, Unmechanical: Extended has such a robot, as mentioned latterly above and he’s just this side of funky.
Billed as an adventure puzzler that combines platforming, memory, logical and linear thinking puzzles, Unmechanical: Extended will slowly draw you into its world of flesh, rock and steel. You are a little robot that has been kidnapped and you are tasked with solving all of the puzzles put before you in order to escape.
After a short intro where you are shown how your floating character was kidnapped, or should that be robot-knapped, you are dropped into the most basic of control and feature tutorials. This, as it goes, is not to the detriment of the game, as the controls themselves are very simplistic. You can move around the arena with powered propeller flight and you can manipulate objects and even pick them up if small enough with a nifty little tractor-beam.
The game starts you off trying to escape from the underground complex you’ve been pulled into. The initial puzzles are simple and are probably designed to make those self-same controls second nature and give it a nice gentle difficulty curve to start you off. During these early levels, you are introduced to the interactive nature of the environment you find yourself trapped inside. Switches can be thrown, electrical wires have to be reconnected, weights and measures are explored. The variety of the puzzles themselves is commendable from the outset.
These initial puzzles also get you used to the graphics of the environment. This is a sumptuous, dark, steampunk-inspired environment. Sometimes, indeed, the environment is too dark and it becomes difficult to determine exactly which switch, rock, girder or even door you’re supposed to be headed for. That being said, the graphics are ideal and central to the game itself. They are brilliantly animated and very well rendered. The only problem you may face is which parts of your surroundings are actually interactive.
The loose parts of the scenery that you can lift respond to gravity as well, giving you the all-new problem of inertia when moving some items, especially when they need to be stacked, and as your tractor-beam allows them to swing, pendulously, getting them in the exact place can be quite tricky. The object of the puzzles varies, from moving light sources to different placements, to redirecting laser beams, to simply loosening large items to crash through a locked door. All help towards the ultimate objective of escape.
The levels themselves are a mixture of cavernous to small, all filled with the variety of puzzles already mentioned. Some of these are almost organic and others are industrial to the point of being dangerous. They all feel ominous, to the point of being oppressive. It’s like a digital version of 90s game show, The Crystal Maze, without Richard O’Brien, the crystals or the frankly daft contestants. These contestants inevitably got confused and came out. Get confused in Unmechanical: Extended and you can fall back on tapping the help button. This was the most frustrating part of the game for me. The hints, if you can call them hints, are mostly a question mark in a thought bubble. Sometimes they work and they’ll give you a graphic of what you might want to try, but mostly, you’ll simply get the standard Crystal Maze contestant response, the confused look.
This means you are generally left to your own devices to try to solve the puzzle you’re working on solving. You’ve no idea if you’re doing things in the correct order, or indeed if you’re even manipulating or moving the correct objects. This can have the effect of making you immensely proud of having solved such a tricky conundrum. Adversely, it can leave you tearing your hair out in frustration as nothing you try opens the door, releases the light for transport or activates that tricky switch. The fact that there are no time constraints for the most part is of benefit but doesn’t lend to the urgency you should be feeling to escape. It all feels very pedestrian.
Musically, the game has a constant background track that, while unobtrusive and complimentary to the setting, is largely bland and uninspiring and could have done with being a little more varied, to inspire some urgency at the very least. The sound effects are done well, with the moving parts of the scenery all clanking, whirring, beating & sploshing away happily.
Playability for the game as a whole, is just about right. The puzzles are not all blatantly obvious, which would simply spoil the game, but neither are they so difficult that would make the game simply unplayable as a challenge. The simplicity of the controls adds to the ease of playability for the game. Your little robot responds well to your movements and unless you’re trying to place something precisely, you can guide it pretty much wherever it needs to be with a certain amount of precision and ease.
Unmechanical: Extended, overall, is a funpuzzler with a variety of challenges set in a well animated and graphically dark world. While the controls are easy to master and simple, the lack of an accurate help system lets the game down slightly. There are many levels to challenge you and the updated and improved version of the original Unmechanical comes with the added bonus of a console-exclusive story episode – queue the “Extended” part of the title – this new set of puzzles focuses on rescuing a robot friend who has also been robot-knapped by the underground system.
Throughout this game you’ll uncover secrets about your captors and discover a couple of endings, all while solving those tricky puzzles. Should you pick it up? Yes, it’s not your run-of-the-mill puzzler and while it’s not perfect, it is a very good game in its own right. Go for it.
Thanks to Grip Games for supplying TiX with a download code.
Nordic Games Visual Award winners, Grip Games have teamed up with Teotl Studios and Talawa Games to bring a new, longer edition of the Steam hit, Unmechanical to Xbox One early this year.
Set in a fantastic world made of flesh, steel and rock, you play as a little robot trapped in an underground complex. His journey will involve challenging puzzles to allow you to effect your escape.
This version will include an exclusive new story level in an engaging world with unique environments.
Grip Games promises that this will test your logic, memory and wits. Have a look at the trailer below and let us know if you’ll be grabbing Unmechanical: Extended when it is released on the 30th of January.