At the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, appointments behind-closed-doors are the only place where you can really get a feel for a certain game, away from the hustle and bustle of the exhibit halls.
In this edition of our hands-on and impressions articles, Tripp and I had an appointment with 505 Games to see Three One Zero’s first-person space survival simulator ADR1FT on Wednesday (6/17). Tripp played the game with the Oculus Rift, while I played on a standard computer screen. We made two separate impression articles to give justice to the unique experience of both.
What Was Shown
We were allowed to go hands-on with the E3 build of ADR1FT. As previously mentioned, I played on a standard computer screen, while Tripp played it with Oculus Rift VR.
The basic premise: you play as Commander Alex Oshima, an astronaut who awakens in a destroyed space station. Making matters worse, he has no memory of what happened to the station and its crew.
Alex must also make due with a damaged space suit, which he must repair and maintain in order to stay alive. While keeping himself alive is the main immediate concern, Oshima’s overarching goal is to repair the station’s emergency escape vehicle in order to come back home to Earth.
Sounds promising, right?
What I Thought Of It
Honestly, I think my expectations were unmet by the E3 build.
Or maybe it’s just my ineptness at the three core pillars of the game: how to get around without damaging Alex’s space suit, what to prioritize collecting and what to do combined with where to go.
Maybe it’s because I didn’t have a dev walking me through the demo, but I had a hard time not hitting walls and debris. Alex’s space suit gets damaged the more you collide with walls and floating objects. The extent of damage to the suit is indicated by the cracks in the visor on the screen. The more damage the suit takes, the faster oxygen leaks out of the suit, so avoiding hitting anything is the best strategy. However, saying it is a lot easier than doing it, at least in my opinion. Floating around without hitting anything is much harder than it sounds.
Balancing recharging the space suit’s power cells with collecting oxygen canisters was unusually tough for me during my playthrough. In the demo I played, I only found one charging station, and it takes longer to get there the further you explore. Even more crucial is finding oxygen canisters often enough to not run out and die by suffocation. Finding oxygen canisters is fairly simple: look for floating boxes with a strobing light on them, and there should be a few floating around nearby them. Again, balancing timing and making sure you have enough to get to another canister was difficult and, quite frankly, frustrating.
Exploration and puzzle-solving make up the majority of what there is to do in ADR1FT, or at least that’s the gist of what we’ve seen so far. As previously mentioned, players must maximize balancing resource-gathering and having enough time to find replenishment for suit power and oxygen while exploring and solving puzzles. While I didn’t get very far in the demo I played, I could already tell that there is much to find and discover.
Were it not for me dying quickly and time constraints during E3, I would have loved to have another go at it and see what else I could find in Three One Zero’s visually beautiful and anxiety-ridden, but also challenging and mind-bending space simulation.