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.