Game: Alone With You
Developer: Benjamin Rivers Inc.
Publisher: Benjamin Rivers Inc.
Crashing thunder and sweeping, soft electrofunk fill the opening few moments of Alone With You, building its quiet atmosphere. The rain splashing down into dusty, pixel craters looks beautiful. Your fingers expertly manoeuvre the control pad, bringing the ship to life. Being an astronaut is a lonely job – especially when your only friends are artificial intelligence.
It’s the year 2064. You’re on Epsilon Eridani B, an escape ship in Colony A. Don’t be put off by mundane nomenclature or dismiss it as a trite sci-fi adventure just yet. There’s tragic, intriguing mystery here: A project 16 years in the making has failed, four colonists have mysteriously gone missing, and an AI that looks like a hypnotic mandala wants to help you get back home. Following a mixture of its commands and your own curiosity, you explore abandoned relay stations and colonies in search of communication parts, read through incomplete diary entries, and, eventually, communicate with holographic projections of former colleagues. The story is silently compelling. Occasional hints at something more sinister, and coloured with shades of sadness, Alone With You may just prompt you to re-evaluate the definition of humanity in the same way Star Trek’s emergency medical hologram (EMH) does.
Compared to traditional graphic adventures, Alone With You comes with a diluted difficulty level which is great for newcomers to the genre, but will likely leave hardcore fans feeling unchallenged. Then again, this can be partly attributed to its fusion with the visual novel genre, so its intent is instead to In terms of functionality, using a controller proved inconsistent and laggy so I’d recommend a strictly keyboard approach, and the game’s save system isn’t immediately clear; It’s an autosave system, but when you’re immersed in scanning antiquated books and broken drones, it’s easy to miss, so I would recommend a manual option at the very least.
Aside from these issues, the interface is natural and fluid, complemented nicely by a cohesive mission structure and linear yet emotionally-driven narrative that tugs on your heartstrings much like Astro Boy: The Wreck of the Titan did. A well paced sci-fi journey awaits for anyone with a fascination for stories that are out of this world.
Alone With You is available via Steam for $9.99 USD.
A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.