An updated review of the full release for this title can be found here.
The Solus Project which is still in game preview stage is being developed by Teotl Studios and Grip Digital who also published it. An early access was released on Steam, GOG and Xbox One on February 26, 2016 and the second installment was added in March of 2016 with the full version expected in May of 2016. A press review copy was provided for The Hidden Levels. It is currently priced at $14.99 (£11.99) but may change when it’s fully released.
The Solus Project is a first person open world single player survival game on a distant planet with the future of mankind held in the balance of your success. Mankind had left earth in order to survive and after hundreds years traveling and living in space the time has come where it must find a planet to settle on. Your mission with your crew is to find this planet however on the way there something happens and your ship is blown apart in the atmosphere of an uncharted planet called Gliese-6143-C. You will need to craft tools, find parts to get a satellite link established to your home ship and hopefully find crew members by exploring the mysterious planet and surviving by keeping track of your vitals with your PDA.
What I Enjoyed:
Awesome Graphics – For a work in progress the very first thing that jumps out is how beautiful this planet is. The graphics are especially satisfying and in fact I couldn’t stop taking screenshots during day and night. Everything you discover immerses you in this strange planet as you set off exploring. Even the loading screens are enjoyable to watch. The weather effects of which are plentiful look and feel as if you experiencing them and they could actually effect you. I would sit in a cave and wait for the downpour rain storms to stop before I would go out in them. These are challenging to your survival and your first meteorite shower could be your last.
Fantastic Story – This is the ultimate “save humanity” story. The back story is told within the first minutes of the game using text and cut scenes to catch you up to your survival which is where the game begins. There are plenty of notes spread throughout this world to catch up on what life has been like and it is a nice personal touch to the game. The pictures that you find of crew members pets and family add to the “lets save all of humanity” narrative nicely. This is just the start and the exploration of this strange and interesting planet is the best experience of them all. As you put together what took place on this planet before you crash landed there. Your struggles to find and keep plentiful the supplies needed to survive while working towards the goals needed are challenging yet rewarding when accomplished. Progress can be saved anytime just by sleeping but don’t try to fall asleep if you are cold, hungry, and wet. You can also be awakened from your slumber due to a number of events.
Amazing Open World– This game does a good job of leading you to your next objective (called forward sectors) but it is a fully immersible open world that is worth exploring. One of the first things I tried to do was swim to one of the islands that look interesting to get to. This was not a forward sector and I took off for my long swim I realized it was further away than I thought. I died on the attempt due to hypothermia. You’ll find interesting plants, strange etchings on rocks, notes, pictures and plenty of items that will help you survive. You may even run into other crew members and find out what they been doing to survive themselves. There are caves to explore and grave sites to fill in the story of the ancient civilization that lived here previously; as well as a strange underground facility where if you are not careful you will never return from.
What I Disliked:
Troublesome Controls – One of the most difficult things in the game is picking items up as apposed to trying to craft these items. This is due to the difficulty controlling where the pointer is. It’s very sensitive and without an option to adjust this can get very frustrating when trying to do something quickly like opening a can to eat it’s contents when you are about to die of malnutrition. Walking and running seemed a bit sluggish in the controls as well and when there are hybrid plant/animal creatures jumping at you this becomes a challenge. To be fair you are in a protective suit that may be limiting this movement.
Suspended Reality– I realize most all games have this in one way or another however it does take away from how good this game could be. As I stated before you are in a protective suit but after you open up a can of food (why they had unmarked canned food in space is beyond my understanding) you simply put the can to your face shield and it’s gone. This goes for drinking water as well. It could use some graphical representation of how this is done, either by some sort of tube or something to make this seem more realistic. They spent so much time making everything else look realistic that this stood out.
Missing Soundtrack – There is atmospheric music but it would have been nice to have some music to listen to. You find recordings and there are even some cassette tapes you pick up. It would have been a nice touch to find a mix tape and give a listen to with the option to play it as well. Don’t get me wrong, you are in space and all but they have cans of food so why not music? Come to think of it a lot of the technology seems to be old as if it never progressed while stuck traveling through space.
The Solus Project is an awesome game so far. I look forward to the full release to see how things are finalized. If you are slightly interested in this I would suggest that you pick it up early before the final release since usually the price increases then. Think of it as getting it at a discount for your beta testing. The graphics alone are worth the price right now and the content is a lot even without the full release. Unfortunately this game is not finished and like all preview program games it has the potential to be unfinished. If you are thinking of buying it bear that in mind but don’t let this stop you from enjoying what is available right now.
Score: Buy it now
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