Solarix is the premiere game developed by Pulsetense Games and published by KISS Ltd, who have over 100 years combined experience in the gaming industry. Solarix describes itself as old school horror combined with a modern style and graphics and follows an electrical engineer who must fight for his life after a deadly disease wipes out the entire crew of an interstellar research station. Right off the bat just from the description, the plot sounds a little similar to the first Dead Space, which was a pure horror game until EA decided they wanted to take the series in a more action orientated direction. For me this is a good thing because that game scared the crap out of me!
From the start of Solarix I was actually really terrified, not because I was alone in a world that was making funny noises at every turn and not because I didn’t have a weapon and couldn’t defend myself, but it was simply because it was immersive. As soon as you start the game you get the feeling that you are incredibly alone, there is no one else to help you except for the voice of an A.I which is in your ear directing you and telling you that you need to escape. For the start of a game I have to say it worked very well. The beginning of the game plays like a tutorial where you are slowly introduced to the enemies in the game and one of the things that really sticks with you at this point is the fact that “You’re an Engineer, Not a Soldier” and this really made me re-think the combat.
When it comes to the enemies I was slightly disappointed with them. The game started off with a fantastic jump scare in the game which shows you one of the enemies and it startled me so much I actually put the game down for a few days. This in my opinion really hyped up the enemies and the put a lot more scare into something which is already so immersive. Now where this falls short is where you meet the enemies in a scenario where they could actually kill you and if I’m honest the A.I is a little stupid. There are 2 main types from what I played and these are the infected mutants and the Mercenary/Soldiers who patrol around and have guns.
Both types of enemy have pre-determined paths which don’t seem to change and it gives you clear ways to get through an area. If they do spot you then they can kill you rather quickly which does mean that you try harder not to get spotted. When you actually do get spotted though they will follow you until they lose line of sight and then pretty much talk to themselves for about 30 seconds and then go back to their pre-determined route and this just frustrates me. However I must say that this game is due for release on 30th April so things could change between now and then.
There is an interesting stealth mechanic which I haven’t seen since the first Splinter Cell game, you have a light metre which shows you how visible and illuminated you are to the enemies so it pays to keep an eye on it. With the weapons you receive you can shoot out lights in the world to create darkness to sneak around your enemies which works well given the whole pre-determined path thing.
Solarix is visually good looking and really brings you into the environment, both with the appearance of the enemies and items which all work really well and it helps to create the world around you. The location which you’re in is really well designed from the start where you’re in some cramped corridors and then later when you go outside and begin to investigate the world. It all really helps to immerse you into the game and when coupled with the awesome random sounds this game has it really does scare you and make you feel totally alone.
The sounds in the game are really well done. I personally think that sound in a game is one of the most important things, and helps to create the games aesthetic especially when the game is a horror game. When you start the game some of the sounds you hear are pretty cool and really draw you in, the pacing of the sounds is really well done and they don’t come to quickly or too few and far between. The actual enemy, gun, and equipment sounds are cool and are frequent enough that you hear the same sounds when playing numerous different games. For example scanning or shooting sometimes sounds very similar but in Solarix they all sounded totally new to me which was great and refreshing.
All in all I think Solarix is good and really does what it sets out to do well. Like I said before, I was slightly disappointed when I met the enemies because the game became less survival horror or horror in general and just an ‘Avoid the Enemy’ stealth game due to them following the same pre determined path all the time. I was also disappointed because the beginning of the game held such promise and genuinely frightened me when I had my first encounter. When you move further on and out into the open I found that there were too many enemies and I felt that the game had taken a turn to a different game than what I was expecting. Nevertheless, what it does it does very well and for that I cannot fault it. As I said earlier, the game is currently due to be released on April 30th and I would urge people who are going to play to keep an open mind and enjoy the experience.