Have you ever been out in the wilds, somewhere you felt totally cut off from civilisation? You’ll fit right in, then, as the hero of The Solus Project, the latest title from Sweden's Teotl Studios, whose last game was the puzzle-platformer Unmechanical. Stranded on an empty world, light years from home and with the fate of humanity resting on your shoulders, you must survive and uncover the secrets of the lost race that once called this place home.
"Solus" is Latin for "alone", and this game plays the loneliness card for all it's worth. Loosely continuing the story begun in Teotl’s 3D physics puzzler The Ball, it's the 22nd century and Earth is gone, ripped apart by a rogue star; mankind only survives huddled on a small fleet of ships in orbit around Pluto. As resources dwindle, you're sent by the titular Solus Project to the snappily-named Gliese-1643-C, in hopes it will be suitable for colonisation. But when your ship doesn't so much land as crash, you're left as the only survivor on a supposedly barren world. Huge abandoned buildings hint at a mystery here, one you must unravel if you want to stay alive and save the human race. So no pressure!
Although it may look like an open-world sandbox-style adventure, The Solus Project is actually more of a “linear single-player experience”. Exploration and survival are your two goals, but whichever you prefer the developers have aimed to provide a satisfying experience. For the survivalists, there are dozens of different kinds of items to find, manage and craft along the way but without (we're promised) repetitive resource gathering. For the explorers, there are ten large levels, covering the surface of the planet, the caves beneath, and mysterious megalithic tombs and underground structures left behind by oddly humanoid aliens. If you're not into survival-style gaming, there will be a range of difficulty levels and settings to enable you to tailor gameplay to your preferences.
The Solus Project uses the Unreal Engine to deliver a world that, as evidenced in its early trailers, looks stunning and varied, from lush grassy fields to cold grey caves and intricately realised alien architecture, all accompanied by an atmospheric score. For those with the necessary equipment, there will also be support for virtual reality headsets.
The first part of The Solus Project touches down today on Steam Early Access and GOG’s Games In Development, with an Xbox Game Preview due on the 26th. New content will be released regularly until the scheduled final release in May. To find out more about the game, visit the official website for additional details.