The Solus Project is a first person story driven survival game created by Teotl Studios and Grip Games and released in June following a period of early access. Earth has been destroyed and you are humanity’s last hope.
As humanity’s last hope, I feel I must apologise for humanity’s doom as it took me exactly 0 seconds to get stuck and need a guide to progress. Having used a guide to figure out how to switch and use an item I was killed by a tornado shortly after. Another guide visit later, teaching me about the teleporter I was on my way. The game has your typical first person controls and uses a inventory wheel to switch items. Items are collected from the world and used to sustain yourself (e.g. food, water bottles, sponges, etc) or progress (keys, doll idols, etc.). There is limited crafting allowing you to combine two items, for example a pipe and hammer-head make a hammer (for wall smashing) and vegetation, pipe, oil and fire make a torch. Beyond crafting a torch and a hammer near the beginning of the game, I didn’t feel like I used crafting a whole lot.
Without going into too much detail and spoiling the story, you’re an astronaut who has crashed on a planet and needs to investigate and report back the suitability of the planet for the remaining humans in space. The primary objective in The Solus Project is to repair a communications tower in order to contact your fellow humans. Picking up parts is done along the way but finding a power source is what drives you across the planet and through the story. This translates into a series of objective waypoint you need to follow but should stop to find secrets or parts along the way. The planet is home to mysterious alien races with some dark secrets. The Solus Project does an excellent job of maintaining suspense and mystery throughout, usually any sense of mystery is gone from a game an hour in.
Most of the game time is spent wondering around between objectives collecting things, gawking at the awesome surroundings, solving puzzles or more rarely running away from things. The puzzles are usually straight-forward and mostly involve collecting things but can take some time to complete, especially when they span an entire island.
The survival element involves getting enough sleep, foot, water, maintaining body temperature and surviving various weather. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of survival mechanics like food or water, I just don’t enjoy having to collect food to fill a bar so the first thing I did was turn these elements down as much as possible. I don’t feel like I lost any value by doing this. Resting is a requirement for your character’s survival but also acts as a way to save your game. When you’re outside on the planet’s surface random weather events kick off which can kill you. I experienced several tornados and meteor showers. Rain, humidity and wind are also a big factor in survival as getting too wet can lead to hyperthermia if the conditions are right. Some of the secrets you find permanently add bonus stats to your character such as increasing walking speed or decreasing the chance of hypothermia.
It took me 12 hours to complete the story. Rather disappointingly, I hardly found any of the secrets despite what I considered to be some quite thorough investigation. There’s certainly plenty to do in The Solus Project if you’re in to secret hunting.
The graphics are good quality but towards the end get a bit samey, particularly when it came to caves. The sound design in The Solus Project is excellent. You can hear water dripping in caves, feel the urgency to take cover during tornados or meteor showers and get sucked into the mysterious or terrible sounds taking place underground.
I had one bug throughout when using the inventory wheel which prevented me from switching item.
I recommend The Solus Project, the high quality polish and excellent audio really make this game great.