The Enigma of Solaris

by jkj yuio

Science Fiction
2023

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Number of Reviews: 5
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Just pull the plugÖ, November 22, 2023
by manonamora
Related reviews: ifcomp

The Enigma of Solaris is a short interactive game set on the Solaris station, where you must find the reason for the power loss threatening the lives of its inhabitant, fighting any hurdles along the way. It can be played as a choice-based or (limited) parser. There seemed to only be one ending.

The story was reminiscent of those old pulp sci-fi stories, with the strive for advancement at the cost of human life, and the hubris of it all. The game is not afraid to go at full speed into those tropes, which makes it a bit comical (in a good way). The visual characterisation of the NPC add a bit of creepyness to the situation, with itís uncanny valley-esque vibe.

Though I quite enjoy bite-sized games, this one felt somewhat incomplete - as if a whole part of the story or a different angle to it was missing. Starting strong with multiple options to explore the station, interact with different elements, and diagnosing the issue, the player sees its agency disappear by the second half of the game - railroaded towards the ending, with not even the illusion of being able to make a choice.

I think it could have made the ending a bit more satisfying if you had a final choice between fulfilling the mission to save lives or being persuaded to take a path of higher purpose just before the end. Maybe even a bit more choice in conversation with the second NPC.

There was also a bit of friction with the engine used, with the image messing a bit with the placement of the text (if they were more to the side, it would be nicer), or the longer portions of the text forcing you to scroll up and down to read the new bits.

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