ADR1FT Review: Lonely in Space

  • 6/10
    ADR1FT Review - 6/10

ADR1FT Review: Lonely in Space

Emotional Story, forced Survival Mechanics, conspicuous user interface, and dull movement makes ADR1FT lonely in Space!

ADR1FT Review: Lonely in Space

ADR1FT Review: Lonely in Space

Past is one thing that has no border or limits, it will follows you across countries, continents and even into the dark infinite space. And here above Australia 462,000 kilometers above in the space, in the silence of dark and isolated environment, the demons of Adr1ft’s astronauts return only to haunt you.

In Adr1ft the setting is Han-IV, a space station shattered by a terrible accident. We play the character of Commander Alex Oshima as she tries to determine what went wrong on the Han-IV, anyone survived and how she can fix this. Investigating different clues and audio logs in Han-IV’s silent halls, however, we find out problems that existed long before station’s unexpected disaster.

Han-IV’s crew may be on mission of huge scientific importance; creating life in a hostile environment where life is impossible. Their Earthly troubles have not left them, fears and hope that fend them off, that lend personal angle to what could have been an brutal fiction.

But this tale is covered by pervasive boredom and poor game design. The game’s zero gravity environments need you to float through laboratories and corridors of Han-IV using your space suit’s thrusters. At first, it feels novel; there is a sense of verticality which you can feel when gravity becomes a dream. But soon movement becomes a drag when you know that where you want to go but you can only advance at a snail’s speed.

In addition, if you touch a wall, however lightly, it will damage your suit and you are then required to fix it at a particular repair station. Adr1ft also introduces some electrical hazards n the game that send you stumbling into dark space with little warning. There is also a matter of your oxygen. As you drift through Han-IV’s frail corridors, your oxygen reserves slowly deplete, until you find O2 canister or a refill module. These survival features feel forced, they do not augment game’s challenge, instead these elements turn into frustration, and detract you from story at hand.

ADR1FT Review: Lonely in Space

Adr1ft’s radar also does not improve the experience. Despite the fact that the game is set in zero-gravity environment, with branching corridors and hallways stacked on top of one another, the radar’s objective arrow falls short to adjust to elevation. Quite a few times throughout my gameplay, I floated along one path for several minutes, only to discover that my objective was dozens of feet below me, past different layers of station’s insulatory exterior.

If Adr1ft was set on a flat plain with normal gravity, the radar’s objective indicator might be helpful. But Adr1ft opens outs in a very unusual environment than those of most video games. And its unpredictable heads-up display fails to adjust to its own setting.

Herein lies Adr1ft’s biggest flaw: the game’s systems clash with each other in numerous ways: the survival elements discourage extensive exploration. The dull movement destroys pacing. The useless HUD creates problems at every turn, burying the game’s story in unclear direction and frustration.

It’s really a shame, because Adr1ft is a stunning game, with moments of dazzling beauty: the view of Asia at night from thousands of miles away. The vast spread of space, laid out before your eyes with multitudes of distant stars. There are chilling moments, too, among Han-IV’s scattered wreckage. But even here, there is tempting sense of mystery.

ADR1FT Review: Lonely in Space

That feeling is made worse when playing Adr1ft in VR. Textures are rough with the Oculus, and the minute details, such as notes on the characters’ desks, are nearly illegible in some cases. But there is a sense of location and height and that comes with 360 degree views in the virtual reality. Glancing around botanical lab, or into distant cities of Australia, becomes much more appealing visual experience when it’s surrounding you.

Adr1ft’s characters are not immune to these scenes, either. They also struggle with substance addiction, marriage problems, interpersonal conflicts and impostor syndrome. But they push forward, trusting notion that life can be gorgeous. Adr1ft reveals little details that change your perception of these explorers’ regrets and relationships. Like their shattered space station, they are broken in their own ways. In excavating below the surface, examining mistakes that these characters have made, and finding reckoning among the guilt, Adr1ft tells a human story in a very inhuman surrounding.

Adr1ft has a very emotional story hiding below the surface. But that surface is coated in forced survival mechanics, laborious movement and conspicuous UI. All the characters have stories to tell, and when the plot’s end, they have reached deep realizations about the past, and how they have to to change as they move forward. But unlike the characters, Adr1ft fails to discover the meaning buried in the wreckage.