We previewed Ostranauts. Read on to find out what it felt like to be confined to a spaceship
With code provided to us by the developer, we got to test in preview the early access version of Ostranauts, the new title from the indie developer Blue Bottle Games. What you will read is a simple preview of the game in question. However, the version we tested already offers many, if not almost all, the features that will be part of the definitive game. For these reasons our general judgment is already quite exhaustive on this unusual project. Let’s not linger any longer and throw ourselves headlong into the simulation space.
Post apocalyptic taste
The story of Ostranauts, the new dystopian simulation by Blue Bottle Games, it’s pretty short. Or at least the known part of this story. The game, in fact, appeared for the first time with a short cameo alla Gamescom 2020. The latter ended, as many of you will remember, only 10 days ago. What must first be clarified before proceeding further is that we are faced with a indie title in all and for all. The firm that oversaw the development of the title is made up of one and only member: Daniel Fedor, a former employee of BioWare. For the realization of the published titles Fedor had the support of some freelancers.
We talked about titles, but in reality, the only Blue Bottle Games game that precedes Ostranauts is NEO Scavenger. Those who are passionate about indie and always looking for the new (and the unusual) will remember that the latter title dates back to 2014. It was essentially a game rogue-like halfway between RPG and simulation set in a post apocalyptic universe. At the time, the community greatly appreciated the level of challenge to the limits of the impossible of this first project by Blue Bottle.
The title in question shares some of these characteristics with the current Ostranauts, moreover, by direct admission of the production company, the two titles share the same fictional universe. Let’s proceed now with the preview and discover together the narrative setting of Ostranauts.
What world would it be without dystopism? – Ostranauts preview: our impressions from early access
In Ostronauts we are going to impersonate a generic member of a crew (we have the possibility to create the character with a very limited editor) forced to survive on a spaceship. The earth was completely devastated by an event of cosmic proportions (here is the return of theapocalypse) and our character is forced to wander aimlessly around the solar system. The latter is on its knees following a capitalism led to the most dire consequences imaginable.
Making do with scraps put together as best they can in years of hard work, our brave avatar has created his own makeshift spaceship for escape the cataclysm that upsets the earth. Our character’s sole purpose is to find some derelict on the interplanetary route (made not too worse than his) to steal spare parts or supplies to extend their stay in the world of the living. Later, in the course of your interspatial wanderings, your crew will be enriched with new members that you will have to look after.
What we have summarized so far comes from notes and notes scattered here and there in the lockers that you will find in your spacecraft. Well yes then, if you are a lover of video games in which the magic of the plot is contained in long lines of text to read you will have found your paradise. Otherwise, if for you the only permissible concept of videogame storytelling is the cutscenes, then probably Ostranauts will make you turn up your nose.
From the first excerpts of plot that we had the opportunity to see in this preview, it seemed to us sufficiently interesting. However, in this, it is still early for a definitive judgment. What it is necessary to point out is that in any case it will be you who will have to go and look for the narrative cues in the course of the experience, because the latter, after all, seems to be able to survive even without any kind of narration to support it. Let’s now preview the gameplay elements of Ostranauts.
Virtual claustrophobia – Ostranauts preview: our impressions from early access
You will notice at the first impact with the game world, that the famous makeshift spaceship is represented in the title in question as a simple surface divided into rectangular areas. Nothing too different from real-world building plans. Yes, back there view from above a bird’s eye view, the one that some of you will remember in the first 2 historical GTAs.
The keys that are usually assigned to the movements of the player character, here simply serve to move (in only 4 directions) the camera on the map. How to move the avatar? Simple, just a touch of the mouse on the above map and it will immediately go to the point you indicated. Already this simple basic gameplay setting, like a time machine, will then take you back many years. Who loved the titles of simulation in style The Sims of the early 2000s will magically feel back home.
Those who are not used to these titles, inevitably, he will feel totally disoriented. The real problem in this case is the targets of game. The latter will tell you, through on-screen instructions, what you need to do to proceed through the simulation. The catch is that very often these goals they are not clear or it will not be clear enough how to do them because you will somehow have to “decipher ”the game environment, and that will be quite difficult. We therefore often found ourselves wandering around the map without having the faintest idea of what to do in the throes of a distressing virtual claustrophobia.
The impression that the preview of Ostranauts has given us so far, at this juncture, is that of one very marked base woodiness. Everything in the game world feels stiff, unnatural and cumbersome starting from the various inventory menu which are as far as possible from the concept of user friendly and appear as the real enemies of this experience. Furthermore, in the interface, the various game objectives overlap the same menus, covering various keys and making everything very frustrating.
Simulation game or simulate a game? – Ostranauts preview: our impressions from early access
Once you have overcome the initial obstacle of the menus and game objectivesno small feat), in the course of our preview game experience, we delved into the very heart of Ostranauts. The latter is represented by the simulative component of the title. The latter has so far seemed to us convincing it’s complete.
Your every action will affect the parameters of your avatar and on the other crew members. On screen you will have practically everything: weight of the character, height, satiety, breathing, body temperature, blood pressure, mood. Lifting a component for even the slightest repair will strain your character and lower his stamina. Everything is recorded by the game as in a kind of foolproof bank statement. However, it remains to be seen whether all these parameters and this simulative realism they will have noteworthy outlets or will reveal themselves ends in themselves. In what we have had the opportunity to prove, we may feel we are inclined to the second hypothesis but it is still probably early to judge.
The interaction with the game world is the center of the gaming experience, like any self-respecting simulation title. Making repairs, finding material here and there, recharging the batteries of the components, all this will be vital and in our experience these actions took up most of the hours of play.
Technically speaking – Ostranauts preview: our impressions from early access
On a technical level, not many words are needed. Just look at the screens that intersperse the paragraphs of this preview. The title, graphically, it is practically non-existent. Everything is limited to the simple two-dimensional map and the 2D graphics image at startup that should (theoretically) throw you into a kind of da atmosphere retro video game. The characters are represented with practically embarrassing models, somewhere between 2D and 3D. Slightly the sector is less anonymous audio that timidly tries to give tense tones to the gaming experience.
An interplanetary niche
Many of the defects listed above, and the very nature of the title, represent a sort of dimension to which many others already indie titles before that they prepared us. It is therefore useless to rage too much on the basic woodiness or on the fact that the graphic component is practically not received. The title in question clearly refers to a very small niche of players.
Some problems, however, like the overlay of objectives to menus in the interface, they are more relevant. We would like to highlight them. This is because they that undermine general enjoyment (decidedly poor) of the title and, probably, will push the players less ready for such a unique experience, to abandon the game.
Right there extreme niche it is the true dimension in which the interplanetary journey of Ostranauts moves. In the title, like the real old (very old) school simulation games, your fantasy will have to strive to ideally reconstruct environments, characters and history. If you are willing to turn a blind eye to the roughness and flaws that we have listed then perhaps you will be able to discover a title that promises, only in some components, vaguely interesting.
Interesting is mainly the basic concept: a survival simulation on a spaceship. They remain so many doubts, however, on development. There history will it be able to motivate players to spend hours of gameplay on the title? The dating with other spacecraft will be noteworthy? Who will play will see. The game in question will be available from tomorrow, September 10 on the Steam store.
Thank you for taking the time to read this preview of Ostranauts. Stay tuned to TechGameWorld.com for all the news and curiosities from the world of gaming and beyond.