Adr1ft: Spaceship

 “just like in the tony hawk games, every input you chain is critical.”
“The Half-Life series, Journey, Portal, Proteus, The Stanley Parable… Myst! I’m a big Myst fan… Those are the games that have inspired me along the way for what we’re doing as a studio,” explains former Sony Santa Monica developer Adam Orth after our hands-on session with upcoming space puzzler Adr1ft. His new team Three One Zero now has a trio of goals for all of its games, of which Adr1ft is the first: 1) triple-A quality, 2) for them all to be ‘short experiences’, and 3) that they’re all FPXs first-person experiences.

“It’s all about, ‘how can we tell a really interesting, narrative-driven story in first-person without a gun?’” he muses. “It’s not as easy as it sounds! It’s not just as easy as taking the gun out.”

Luckily for Orth and his team, Adr1ft’s environment gives them plenty of options for other mechanics. In case you missed last issue’s intro, you play as a female astronaut who survives a catastrophic space station explosion and must power up escape pods via puzzles to make your way back to Earth. And zero-gravity is ripe for puzzling potential.

Dravity Rush
“Any debris or floating stuff is grabbable. There are a lot of cool mechanics when you repair things, like the fantasy of moving giant objects you could never possibly move [on Earth]. And then there’s a whole level of gameplay just in how  you move.”

We’ll vouch for that movement claim first-hand. Orth describes Adr1ft’s navigation as being like Tony Hawk because, in certain pressure situations (and how’s this for hardcore?),  every single input you chain together is crucial for your success. And it all comes down to that lovely breathable stuff.

“Oxygen is a big mechanic,” Orth says. “Without getting into the ‘why’, the propulsion resource for your jetpack is also oxygen.”

So when you’re floating through environments, you need to make sure you’re moving smartly and efficiently. If you’re running low on oxygen and trying to find a refill canister, every course-correcting thrust will deplete your supply that little bit more. Yikes.

Orth still refuses to offer firm details on the workings of promised musical-based puzzles (“I would say that if you look to gauge something like Close Encounters, that was how they communicated, right?” he teases), but even our brief, objective-free hands-on has left us short of breath.

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