I've felt bad for not trying this game more when it came out. It was TMC and SDHawk's random collab, so naturally they went for some crazy programmer kind of thing. It was vaguely roguelike, about an astronaut trying to survive his way through something to get to someplace. Very nice game, but it was hard and tough to get into. Hoping I can give it a little more attention this time around and I understand TMC updated it recently so that oughta be fun.
Okay, not a good idea to "just run it". Gonna have to think about this. Game Over/Restart could be way smoother.
Who the fuck cares about naming the hero, get on with it
Hard to tell what walls you can walk through
Really hard to tell what kills you and frustrating that every time you have to go through the same thing. "OH NO THE PLACE IS ABANDONED!" "OH NO, THE LIGHTS ARE GOIN OUT!"
I have a lot of respect for this game because it is old school as hell. You could put it on one of those 90's shareware compilations and it'd fit right in. The graphics, sound design and emphasis on survival all remind me of things I saw as a kid, goofin around on the weekend with some weird old DOS shit. The map and each section of colony is randomly generated for each game, so no two playthroughs are alike. That lends further to a nostalgic feeling that games had for me back then, the feeling of "What the hell am I supposed to do"?
Basically, I'm still unable to beat this game. Until very recently, I wasn't even sure if I'd been making progress or just avoiding death. I had assumed the goal was to go into each colony along the way, find enough air to get to the next colony, while finding food, water and heat sources inside each place to let you live long enough to find the air. Every now and then I find notebooks, detailing what happened and I assume they must be important, but I can't be sure and so far they seem to be flavor text.
The graphics also make it somewhat difficult to tell whether or not you can go to certain places, especially the West/East facing doors. Lots of times I'll sidle up to one, assuming I can go through only to find out it's a wall, or that I'm a tile or two too far north or south, and then eventually I discovered that these doors can also be stuck and require you to talk to them first. Some arrows or something might make it more obvious where you can go. A little bit more tile variety might also help, or some color coding or something to make one room stick out from another would help.
Also going to say that I think the randomization was a bad idea, at least to this extent. It makes it feel rather frivolous, choosing to go into one outpost or the other. I'd be okay with randomizing the interiors, but perhaps some basic succession of checkpoints from say, the southernmost being a boring security checkpoint, then a mess hall, then a barracks, then the greenhouse and so forth, areas which could each have their own general theme and risks and rewards, while maintaining a sense of progress that you could compare throughout playthroughs.
Combat uses the default engine for the fighting, but there are no random battles. You can see the monsters roaming around and tread lightly to get past them. Personally, I woulda ditched the combat and just let the atmosphere of exploration through these abandoned places carry the game. You've got so much to worry about, body temperature, oxygen level, flashlight batteries, food, thirst, sleep deprivation, there's plenty to do without throwing in battles for the hell of it. I do kind of like the degrading weapons system they use, but I would've preferred them to be equippable. Using them as items makes me more confused, especially with stuff like crowbars floating around that serve as exploration tools instead.
It takes a lot of guts to make a game like this, something totally different from what you usually see. I like what they were trying for, but I can't find enough breadcrumbs to lead me to the end of their trail. If you've got patience, or you like old school survival type stuff I think you'll enjoy it, if you're looking for something kind of brainless you're not gonna find it here. Very well put together and all, I just have no idea what the hell I'm doing. Should I explore more? Less?
On my final run, I've made it to the northernmost colony, there's a door different than the others, but I can't explore the place to fnd out how to open it. I either freeze to death, or starve to death, or monster to death, or water to death or sleep deprivation to death. Just too non-linear for its own good, I guess. I wonder if anyone has the opposite problem, and the RNG just favors the hell out of them and the cruise to an easy victory.