Updated: March 25
I spent some time with The Solus Project this week. Actually, if I’m honest, it was a good deal more time than I had expected to spend on it—and that is entirely a good thing.
I’m not a fan of the ever-growing survival genre. For me, most survival games involve far too much babysitting, placing too much emphasis on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and not enough on exploration, story, action or otherwise. While The Solus Project does involve ensuring that your character eats, drinks and sleeps, it does so with just the perfect amount of frequency so as not to distract from itself.
The backstory in Solus is left deliberately vague, providing just enough context to make the rest of the game believable and meaningful. It works beautifully, taking the player’s experience from one of desperate survival (which never fully goes away), to one of exploration, mystery and intrigue. Often I found myself so engrossed in exploring that I’d forget to monitor my vitals, or do something risky, and end up dead because of it. It’s moments like this that the significance of your character’s mission comes roaring back to life and hits you like a ton of bricks. Oh, right…I’m not here just to poke around, I’m here to save humanity.
Without a beautiful and unique setting, Solus just wouldn’t work. The story could be fantastic, but if the surroundings don’t pique a player’s curiosity and leave him or her wanting more, then what’s the point? Teotl knows this and has created a stunning world to roam and discover. From the weather patterns, to the day and night cycles, to the jaw-dropping vistas and eerie caves, Gliese-6143-C feels real and completely alien all at once. Experiencing this game on a VR device would be amazing.
Thus far, only two episodes of the game have been released. Episode 3 is projected for April 6. Teotl claims that, even with only two parts currently out, the total gameplay is over 6 hours. I actually think that estimate is quite low, especially if a player is trying to uncover all the secrets—I passed six hours on my first night.
Sure, there are a few minor bugs to be worked out, and load times could be reduced, but The Solus Project has blown my expectations out of the water so far. If you’re into survival and exploration titles, it’s one-of-a-kind and should not be missed.
Find it on Steam’s Early Access now for only $15, or grab the full game on PC or Xbox One in May.