The Y Geek Squad’s Alvin Thomas heads to deep space for its thrills in a game that leaves us screaming into the void.
Handpicked from a pool of sci-fi thriller movies, The Observation packs a storyline that can jolt even the boldest of the lot, revolving around a rescue mission…in space.
While the core of the story reminds us of the 2013 sci-fi thriller, ‘Gravity’, there are key elements that separate it from the film, giving players a sense of originality and purpose.
At the heart of the mission is an artificial intelligence (AI) software called, S.A.M. (System Administration Maintenance) that is tasked to upkeep the safety of an international space station undertaking inter-planetary research.
Think of it as a J.A.R.V.I.S. from the ‘Iron Man’ flicks.
As expected, things go awry from the onset of a mission, leaving S.A.M. – who you largely control – to work towards a solution to bring back scientists, medical staff, and astronauts who are left to deal with an unknown and unexpected incident in space.
The game takes a point-and-click narrative format and is largely seen through the eyes of cameras and other electronically-controlled equipment in the space module.
Initially, the game limits your view to where the crew relocates you (S.A.M.) but you can soon see more as you jump between imaging devices and other computers, before finally being able to move freely with the help of a spherical probe.
This poses several riveting puzzles to crack alongside a host of other problem-solving missions – all of which revolve around the well-being of the crew.
The gameplay is forgiving, though the game can tap into your innermost fears and psyche with its near-lifelike graphics and frightening twists. Not to forget, you’re also forced to move around tight spaces and maneuver through time-bound puzzles to make your way forward.
Human interaction is intuitive for the most part, with the most fascinating ones taking place between you and a medic, Emma. This interaction continues over the course of the game, as the plot takes you through dark and gloomy turns that border on the inhuman.
It’s a rough story to digest with plenty of lies posing as truths along the way, but the change from a standard jump-scare game to one where the user is given more control over the outcome results in a compelling title that can offer a solid 20 hours of hair-raising gameplay – if you’re into it.
Developer: No Code
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Designer: Graeme McKellan
Platforms: PS4 and PC