Solaria Moon, developed by 3y3Nnet, is a recent title featured on Steam Greenlight. For the uninitiated, Steam Greenlight is a system set in place that allows the Steam community to vote on games they would like to see available for sale on the Steam platform. Developers can post content to their Greenlight page in hopes of garnering public interest. This can be a great way for a developer’s work to get noticed, and it seems like Solaria Moon has recently piqued enough interest to get the official Greenlight.
Set aboard a derelict spaceship codenamed: “Taranis”, players are cast in the role of Lucy Lambert, who awakens from cryo-sleep to find all of her crew dead. Using only her ingenuity, it is up to Lucy to uncover the mystery of what happened to her crew, and how to stay alive. Recently, I was able to play a very short demo of Solaria Moon, and was left with slightly mixed feelings.
The game opens on a spaceship drifting through deep-space as computer commands scroll on the top-left of the screen. If that sounds familiar, well, that’s because this is the same introduction used in countless sci-fi games in recent years. Neon-green scrolling text? Check. Character wakens confused from cryo-sleep? Check. I think it’s safe to say that the story will not end up being the most original, but that’s definitely not a deal-breaker by any means.
Our hero, Lucy Lambert, awakens to discover her crew dead all around her. She is apparently the sole survivor of a “kill-command” issued by the ship itself. The controls feel very “tanky” in true survival-horror fashion, but I did not find them to be too cumbersome. After searching lockers, and donning a strangely scantily-clad Bio-Protection suit, Lucy’s next objective was to find a way out of the cryo-room. However, in true video game fashion the only exit is locked with no clear solution. After browsing through some storage chests, I came across some peculiar blue nodes. I was able to collect three of these, and they appeared as inventory on the top-right of my screen. There was also an icon that appeared on the top-left of my screen once I accessed the large computer-terminal located in the room. This terminal gave me access to bios for every crew member, and also the option to turn on an adjacent generator.
This is where the actual gameplay-hook began to reveal itself. Upon turning on the generator I noticed that an electrical current had begun to emanate from it. Walking over, I instinctively placed one of the blue nodes near the current. This caused the current to actually attach itself to the node. Placing another node down, I was able to connect both of them through the same current. While moving them, I noticed a circle on the ground that established a perimeter. If I moved the node away from another’s field of effect, it would blink out, so it was important to keep these circles overlapped. However, this also meant that I did not have enough nodes to reach across the room, which was my objective. See, there was an electrical outlet right near the door, just begging for some electricity. I was perplexed. However, after searching the room for extra nodes, and experimenting, something happened by accident: the electricity began running through the bodies on the floor. This gave me just enough reach to explode some gas canisters, which conveniently hid an extra node. Placing that extra node near the exit, I was able to guide the electrical current right to the necessary outlet, completing my objective. Upon exiting the door, the demo concluded.
Obviously, this game is in it’s very early stages. This was a concept-demo first and foremost, and it’s really hard to tell what this game will end up looking like upon release. As of right now, things are pretty rough in certain areas. The character models are very generic, and fly about like dolls in true Unity-Engine fashion. The environments are pretty standard sci-fi fare, with nothing to make them stand out from the masses. The controls can be awkward, considering the main gameplay hook is to position electrical-nodes with precision. Lastly, the dialogue is very choppy due to some sub-par translation. Obviously, that is something that can easily be fixed prior to release. In fact, all of the aforementioned problems have plenty of time to be ironed out.
The biggest positive I took from my time with Solaria Moon is its interesting gameplay-hook. It was clever to use bodies as a conduit for electricity, and it makes me wonder what other kind of ways players can use the environment to progress. Only time will tell. Currently, Solaria Moon is only sitting at $135 of its $20,000 dollar funding goal on indiegogo, and has just been Greenlit by the Steam community. If the developers can give this game the polish it needs, Solaria Moon could be a clever, and fun sci-fi puzzler to check out in early 2017.