Lost in space.
Space….A vast, dark, deadly vacuum of nothingness, yet games set in such an environment can be absolutely frightening, enthralling, and beautiful. Taking a page from the 2013 movie Gravity, ADR1FT has players waking up, having survived a catastrophe that has left crew members dead, a space station in disarray, and only one mission: survive.
We all float up here
With a space station in chaos, suit damaged, and no idea what occurred, players are tasked with exploring the remnants of what’s left and escaping back to earth. Simple in premise and set up, it’s a story of Alex Oshira and survival in its ultimate sense. As far as gameplay mechanics, the game spends little time getting players right into the exploration and controls. This is the biggest learning curve, as every little nudge on the controller will have the space suit propulsion system take hold and move Alex around, sometimes with dizzying results. It’s a unique control scheme, but one that can be adjusted to in due time, though leading to moments of frustration also.
Price I’d Pay: $10.00
How long to beat: Four hours
Each time the suit is used, oxygen is used. Lose oxygen, can’t breathe, game over. The tension in this gameplay element alone could have been something special, but here it feels like an artificial way of guiding and keeping players in areas they should remain in. With an overabundance of oxygen floating all over the place, it just boils down to a mechanic to babysit. Yes, it’s a game, but it’s a bit perplexing how it just so happens a space station disaster occurred and floating oxygen is just about everywhere in abundance. Trying to be a bit more realistic in its take of space, it peels back those layers of reality just a tad too much.
Exploring the ship is the most thrilling aspect of ADR1FT, and if it wasn’t as beautifully serene as it is, it would lose some of that impact. The space station has a very sterile feel, but there are rooms and elements that surprise or give just a bit of variation to keep players a bit more invested. Though this variation is greatly needed and perhaps not enough as the core game will be about exploring these areas and repairing each wing, with hardly anything noteworthy changing between them all. Combine this with the slow and sometimes confusing propulsion system and the lack of a gripping story, and it’s a mixture that can give off a very slow and for some downright boring experience.
First Person “Experience”
ADR1FT has a great set up for a disaster game, but here they decided to go for a more personal take, which is admirable. Little variations in gameplay mechanics, lead to an experience that comes across as beautiful and interesting, but just bland and repeating. There is a story here about survival, the personal struggles the crew went through via audio dialogs and emails, but again it feels conflicted with the overall theme. Running low on oxygen, hoping to repair the station, but having time to stop for an email or audio log, feels a bit against itself, and it pulled me out of the experience each time instead of drawing me in more.
ADR1FT is a beautiful take on the space disaster genre, but ultimately one that not everyone will get pulled into. It’s subtle, slow, and crawling at times, instead of intense, bold, or peppered with action moments. It could have used a bit of both personally. That’s the key difference between who will enjoy ADR1FT and those who won’t. If it pulls players in, most likely they will see it to its conclusion, otherwise interest will drift away, much like Alex floating in space, potentially never returning again.
Favorite moment: The opening moment, the view of space, it’s just breathtaking.
Worst moment: Bouncing around the environment, trying to gauge my bearings as I floated in circles and battles against the controls.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.