If you’re a fan of games like Thief and System Shock 2, perhaps even a little Deus Ex, then you’re going to be very interested in the debut title from Pulsetesnse Games; Solarix. It’s amazing to see the game reach this stage after the game unfortunately didn’t reach its Kickstarter goal. The team pushed on with zero budget, still managed to secure AAA voice actors and are showing no signs of slowing down their development progress.
The game dives head first into the Sci-Fi FPS genre, which in all fairness has been done to death time and time again by many other games, but modern games tend to focus heavily on the run and gun scenario. Solarix slows the pace considerably, going back to the steady searching, finding your way around your environment and generally putting you as a fragile victim than the Hollywood hero. The game favours stealth over action and while I’m sure many of you love the gun-toting action, Solarix uses a light meter mechanic to help you lurk in the shadows and evade your foes.
The game has a dark and eerie vibe about it. The levels are littered with dimly lit corridors, steam vents, lights behind slow moving fans. Pretty much all the clichés you would expect, but they’re all very well executed and really set the tone for the game very well. Think the movie Event Horizon with the grime of Gears of War and you’re half way there.
The game is in beta stage, so I did notice quite a few bugs along my way. Clunky scenery that occasionally stopped me in my tracks, enemies AI sending them into a minor fit when walking around objects and so on, but the game isn’t finished, so they’re allowed to have a few collision detection problems at this stage. However, it’s easy to look past the issues and soak up the games environment, at least until the pretty lethal enemies spot you lurking under a spotlight and come down on you with unrelenting force. Keep in mind, you’re a humble electrical engineer, you’re fighting for your life, your fellow crew are dead from infection and guess what? It’s down to you to contain what’s left – a mixture of freaked out people with guns and your own survival requirements; your best weapon right now is disabling lights to create dark hiding spots.
It’s easy to get lost in Solarix, most notably because it doesn’t hold your hand and feed turn-by-turn directions to you every two seconds; figure things out yourself! This much I love, I’m tired of waypoint markers mucking up my adventures and while you may find yourself backtracking a lot, the open-ended level design is a welcome throwback to the FPS games of the 90’s.
There’s not really a lot else to say about the game right now. I could pick holes in it, as there are a few rough textures, some of the shaders are not fantastic right now and there are a few control glitches that creep up frequently, but that would be like complain a car didn’t drive correctly after it was half built; this is an early beta after all!
This game has a lot of potential and for fans of stealthy sci-fi thriller games, there’s little else on the horizon to whet your appetite. I can’t wait to see what this game looks like in the near future when a little more polish has been put into it, the bugs fixed and of course, when it sees a full release. The game supports 2K resolutions at the moment and I even got 4K working via the console commands, which looks absolutely stunning!
The story is cool, the setting is classic and the atmosphere is thick – this is shaping up to be a great game indeed. A little birdie tells me there are some very exciting things in store for Solarix, which I’ll gladly share with you once I know I’m allowed to, so stay tuned!
Solarix is due for release in “early 2015”. You can find out more on the official Solarix Steam page.