inanedirk: (Gir - Squidhead)
Finished the game today. Story makes up for annoyances I ranted about here. Get it, worth it.
inanedirk: (Gir - Squidhead)
So I bought Stasis a few days ago. I'd been looking forward to its release ever since I heard of it. It doesn't quite live up to my expectations though, unfortunately.

To give you an idea, Stasis is an Indie Isometric Science Fiction Horror Adventure Game. The protagonist wakes by from stasis on an unfamiliar space ship that obviously is severely damaged. Thing is, the last thing he remembers is going into stasis next to his wife and kid in order to start their vacation. The goal of the game is survival, finding out wtf is going on, and finding your family.

Now, I really like the setting of the game. You soon find out that the space ship you're on is owned by a big corporation conducting illegal experiments (DNA manipulation and cloning) on humans, on this very ship. They're totally ruthless, and collect stasis pods anywhere they can get them in order to use their contents for their experiments. Naturally the protagonist is frantically trying to find his family.

Unfortunately, that's all I really like about this game. Graphically, it's okay. The setting is visualised well enough, but it does look 10+ years old. IMO that's acceptable for a small independent developer though.

What most irks me is how far fetched some of the puzzles are. Early in the game, you need to fake a leak on a tank. Having only very few items, I decided to try to use a glass shard on my character, thinking he'd cut himself for a few drops of blood. Well, what he did was thrusting the shard into his intestines, killing himself.
Killing yourself is ridiculously easy in the game.

Here's another example of a puzzle that I didn't like: There's a gas leak, and I'm convinced I'm supposed to blow it up. I've got a lighter, so I place it close to the leak. What you're supposed to do is go to a save place and use a stick to prod the lighter so that it ignites the gas. Thing is, the game requires you to do it from a certain place. If you prod it from the wrong position you'll die in the explosion, but being as close, just in a different position, prodding the lighter works without you getting killed. What's worse, once you plant the lighter nothing will happen, but if you go close to the leak again it'll suddenly explode, killing you! Why does it explode when you get close? Why doesn't it when you keep your distance? That doesn't make any sense!

Another puzzle is not a proper puzzle at all IMO: You arrive at a tube station. The tubes are used to transport stuff from one department to the other on the ship. There's several things wrong with this puzzle actually: First of all, you'll find a box addressed to <some department>, and below are three connected symbols - when I saw them I thought abstract floor plan. They're just two colours, forming what looks like rooms and connecting passages. Now close by is a terminal that let's you enter the intended destination, you have to choose from different symbols on three positions to get the correct one, i.e. the one showing on the box.

Seriously, WHY THE HELL would you have a process to input the target destination in such a complicated way? The transport boxes have the destination written on them in plain text, so why would the destination selector be encoded at all, and in such a weird way? What would actually make sense is a simple list of available destinations to select one from. So this is an example of a puzzle that's just there for the sake of itself.

The second reason this entire puzzle feels stupid, you find several boxes with different destinations. When you enter any of them though, the terminal will simply say "no destination set". What should happen, you should be able to enter the transport and be shipped to a wrong location. It might be a dead end, or, seeing how happily the game will kill you, you might end up crashing or being jettisoned into space.

Instead, the only destination the terminal actually accepts is the one you have to go to because of the plot. I was so angry when I realised I couldn't travel to the wrong destination ...

So that's a few reasons why I find the game disappointing. I'll probably still finish it because I want to know what's going to happen. But I'm in no hurry really...

March 2017

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