Indie Review - Close to the Sun


Close to the Sun is a horror adventure steampunk game that is set in an alternate time. The graphics are insane and takes full control of using the Unreal Game Engine. The graphics are some of the best I’ve ever seen and look like they came from a major game studio, as opposed to an indie studio.

Story

In Close to the Sun, you play as Rose, who is on her way to meet her sister at the Helios, a grand ship designed by Nikola Tesla. The game is set in an alternate timeline where he was able to achieve all his magnificent ideas, one of which being the Helios, a ship which is unlike anything I could have ever imagined. When you finally get to the Helios, it’s a little quiet, and no one is around for such a large ship. Searching around, you make your way into the front entrance, but as soon as you get in, the doors slam closed. When you look at the door, “Quarantine” is written on it in red paint. Continuing deeper into the ship, your sister Ada starts broadcasting over the PA system as if someone is around. You respond to her call and ask her what is going on, and she is confused as to why you are on the ship. You tell her that she wrote to you, but she says that never happened. She guesses that it could be a version of her from the future. Ada tells you to make your way to her room so you two can meet. When you get to the floor she lives in, she tells you about the work she has done, and explains why the ship is under quarantine



Gameplay

A large part of the game is walking around and getting to the next destination. Many other games make you fight your way through and feel safer while traversing unknown areas, thanks to your weapons. But in this game, you have no weapons or way of fighting back. It’s just you and your brain trying to find your way around the Helios. While exploring the Helios, you encounter Ludwig, a man who is obsessed with time and trying to kill you. All you can do during these parts of the game is find a way to escape. If you take the wrong path, you die a long, drawn out death, respawning at the beginning of the chase. When you are not running for your life, you are looking for puzzles or trying to find where to go next and trying to uncover the secrets of the Helios.

Art and Graphics

Steampunk visual styles have always been popular with audiences. The game benefits from this, as well as the attention to detail. The ship seems abandoned and torn apart, but while walking around, you can sometimes see figures of bodies walking around and interacting with the ship. They aren’t full bodies, but they are made up of specks of light, and they blur around them. These figures are known as chaotic energy, and they show how the people who populated the ship would be doing if what happened never happened.



Sound Design

All the sound in this game adds to the creepy and lonely feeling of the ship. The voice acting was one of my favorite parts, especially the voice of Nikola Tesla. The dark and creepy mood of the world is greatly amplified by all the little sounds, like the sound of a light turning off in a room you thought to be unoccupied. These little details make the atmosphere frightening without being overtly a horror feel.

Final Thoughts

Close to the Sun was a different experience for me. It was a fun way for me to creep my way into the horror genre. It was not a scary game, but it built the tension nicely to the moments that scare you. The feelings the game gives while playing it are great. Even though the pace of the game slows down a bit while doing the puzzles, or trying to figure out where to go next, the game is still great. I highly recommend you play this game. You can play Close to the Sun on PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PC.



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