Written by sPINDRAFT 12/1/2013
This is the first 2D isometric game to make it into the HAG’s review list and it won my attention due to its awesome graphics, the obvious amount of detail poured into its creation, the fact that it is a SciFi story (havn’t done one of those yet), and the nostalgic feel (at least for me) of the iso perspective. I read that the game is influenced by greats such as ‘Aliens’ and ‘Event Horizon’ (loved that one) and that its style is similar to ‘Sanitarium’, since I have never played ‘Sanitarium’ I would not know. As I have said often times in other writings I have an old love affair with fantasy/action RPG’s so ‘Stasis’ reminds me more of the point and click style of ‘Baldurs Gate’ for character movement and the early ‘Neverwinter Nights’ games for the design, which is another reason it landed on my radar.
‘Stasis’ is a classic tragedy that involves you, namely John Maracheck, who wakes up on the Groomlake, a doomed mining spacecraft owned by a scientific corporation that has apparently been involved in some kind of really screwed up research that wouldn’t win any morality or humanity awards back here on Earth. The really good part is that the ship is in a dying orbit around the gas giant Neptune with no sign of rescue by its owners (you saw the opening scenes right, if your willing to sacrifice a ship like that you are into some serious coverup for some seriously fucked up deeds). Don’t start breathing yet because not only do you have to find out whats going on here (you were not part of the active crew kiddo) and save your hide it appears that your wife and kid were on this litttle side trip with you and they have vanished. Got to admit that from a story standpoint The Brotherhood is well versed on classic SciFi drama and know how to write up their awesome version of it.
From a game play standpoint lets start out by saying this is the early alpha release, the full game is not scheduled until sometime in 2014, and I have no idea how much of the flesh is not on the bone yet. There is a lot of minor dialogue in the beginning that basically steers you towards finding some medical help on a deserted ship and this is good; it has the feel of a tutorial at this point, helping you to understand how things work here. At the same time there is a lot of title boxing going on which has no clear effect on the game play or its direction, the most obvious over use is the wiring that sits up high and behind the tanks – Is this going to have a purpose in the full release or is the attempt here simply to label everything in the ship?
Visually I give much applaud to The Brotherhood and their artistical team for a beautifully crafted game world. I have said many times that graphics do not necessarily make the game but in the case of 2D Isometric I would have to say that this would be a very large and important selling point since a large portion of the gaming market is viewing the virtual world from a critical 3D perspective. ‘Stasis’ delivers great visual depth capable of garnering interest from all areas of the gaming public.
I would like to regress here for just a moment because ties to the real world and its history really tend to grab my attention. Have you noticed the name of the ship, Groomlake? For those not up on North American (specifically U.S.) conspiracy theories Groomlake is that place in Nevada where the government supposedly ran a UFO coverup for many, many years (and still deny their activities there to this day) which alledgedly involved the capture of a spaceship and its alien pilots (one of which was rumored to have lived for some time). Make what you will of this bit of historical bickering but it does beg thought as to where The Brotherhood may be going, or coming from, with their story (hell, they may just be paying homage to a personal intererst). Don’t blink there is more to the story, the salt flat that is Groomlake in the real world began its modern life as a lead and silver mine in the 1870′s and continued to operate in this manner of business until the 1950′s when the CIA opened the first test facilities there. See the similarities yet? Can’t wait to hear the whole tale.
Okay back to game play, everything looks good here and the HAG assumes that the game is still ripe for finishing updates but I do have one fairly major gripe – pick up the pace man. The character movement is very slow, methodical is the word I would use; it can almost put you to sleep liike driving too many hours down a long, straight road. The game is geared towards solving puzzles to advance your knowledge of the situation and your ability to proceed through the ship but in this early stage of the game (assuming this is not completely fleshed out) there is zero action and not enough energetic interaction to keep ones eyelid’s from drooping as you make your point and click trudge through these early scenes. Some of the system appears to still be bugged as there did not seem to be any way of opening the bay two door or creating a leak in the tanks to overide the computer lockdown and there are not that many options to choose from. I went through several times and moused everything in every room I could get into (I’m sure the ship is feeling violated on some level) and even tried doing things in certain orders but nothing worked. Could be thats all for the alpha release right now kiddos.
At any rate ‘Stasis’ looks fresh and well worth keeping an eye on, especially if your a SciFi fan cause god knows we need less of the whole killer sharks dropped on LA via tornado deal going on (I mean seriously, forget the viewers – who actually pays to create that crap?). The Brotherhood are hard at work finishing up this little isometric puzzle/adventure/horror game and we look forward to seeing the finished product. Until then enjoy the alpha and if anyone has any pointers I am all ears.
Stasis score - B+
The Brotherhood score - A