Close to the sun – Review
Follow Genre: First-person horror adventure
Developer: Storm in a tea cup
Publisher: Wired Productions
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Tested on: PC

Close to the sun – Review

Site Score
7.0
Good: Very nice graphics and atmosphere, good story
Bad: Not much to do
User Score
5.8
(4 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 5.8/10 (4 votes cast)

Do you remember the story about Icarus who flew too high with his wings made of wax? He got too close to the sun, which made the wings melt and he fell down from a great height. His arrogance brought him to his fall. This is probably what the title of this game is hinting at. Close to the sun asks us the question before even starting the game: How far can we go as humans, and what is too far?

Story

You, Rose, get a letter from your sister, Ada. Ada is asking you to come to the Helios, which is practically the most giant cruise ship mankind has ever seen, only this time it’s filled with scientists and other people under the guidance of Nikola Tesla. In this universe, Tesla is providing the planet with wireless power while he is afraid that Edison will send many corporate spies to either steal from him or sabotage some of his work. And it’s top secret work. As Rose boards the giant ship Titanic, eh… Helios, she quickly discovers that Ada didn’t write her a letter at all. And gruesome, mysterious things are going on aboard the Helios. For one, it’s a rather empty ship. For another, Tesla and his researchers have tried to create a bit too much with the research on energy. So much that it might change the future of humans drastically. The entire story unfolds through the eyes of Rose as you will sometimes see a cutscene through her as well, making you unable to move or react to things happening.

Graphics

Never before has a ship looked this juicy. Maybe it’s because every here and there, there is literally juice running through certain parts as Tesla’s legacy seems incorporated with everything. There’s a certain Bioshockesque feel to the entire game, partially because you see everything from one person’s eyes, and the other part because the environment is built up from steampunk elements combined with Tesla’s everything. Without joking though, the game looks very slick. Especially at the start it certainly knows how to pull you in as you start on a ferry in rough waters. Watching the waves collide and move gives a sense of the possibility of drowning if you would fall off the boat. Other than that, the game tries to portray itself as something with horror elements, which it has, but it’s more beautiful than scary in a lot of ways. With realistic lighting and shadowplay, it sure puts down something interesting for you to explore.

Sound

The sound fits the game rather well. At times, it can be eerily quiet to enhance what’s possibly around the next corner, but mostly you will be accompanied by music fitting the surroundings. This means it’s either atmospheric and a bit chilling while exploring, or a bit more orchestral, action-heavy during something heavy happening like a chase scene where you have to run from somebody. There are also sound effects which have a natural realism to it such as footsteps, and the game tends to screw with you a bit by adding something off-putting every now and then such as whispers or knocking on a wall. The nicest thing might be the voice acting though, as it is clear that high-quality actors have been hired for this game. Conversations sound real, and everybody has a nice voice fitting their character that’s in a way comforting to listen to.

Gameplay

To be frank, Close to the Sun actually doesn’t involve much gameplay, which immediately is its greatest weakness. It’s supposed to be a horror/survival type of first-person adventure. A lot of the time though, especially in large areas without knowing where to go, it will feel a bit like you are walking around aimlessly. There are a lot of collectibles spread throughout the game, but they are not a main part of anything. All it does is giving more background information on inhabitants and visitors of the Helios. Even though some of it is interesting, it does not outweigh the already good main story that sadly is missing some real things to do. Where in Bioshock you could at least shoot at things, here you can only walk around and prepare for a jump scare.

So most of the time you will be interacting with things around you, trying to figure you out where to go and also discovering new person-specific information by picking up stuff like passports, letters, newspapers and more. Occasionally, there is a puzzle to be solved, but these also start to repeat themselves fast and are little inventive. The bits that do involve action are those when you are put in a situation where you i.e. have to run away from somebody. It’s basically a maze of death. You either find the right route to travel or you get caught up with and stabbed to death. It’s not a bad system, it’s just that most of the game feels like it has a lot of empty space that could use some threats. There is no immediate danger to be found anywhere, and once you get used to that, it’s more like walking through a haunted house that’s drifting on top of the middle of the sea.

Conclusion

Close to the sun has a lot of beautiful things going on. The graphics are amazing, the story is interesting, the sound fitting. Yet the gameplay is just largely lacking in things to do, and it’s breaking down the chilling atmosphere that the game initially lays down before you. With either different gameplay or more things to do, this could have been an amazing game.

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Rating: 5.8/10 (4 votes cast)
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Close to the sun - Review, 5.8 out of 10 based on 4 ratings
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Find me on youtube to see some playthroughs! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuBrlulGywcb0EiYWBnA1ng

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