Things take a while to travel through space. And so it is with Elea, a new episodic spacefaring adventure from indie Bulgarian developer Kyodai, whose debut installment has now arrived in full after spending several months in Steam Early Access.
The titular character of Elea is a space scientist whose youngest son Ethan was among the many afflicted by a "horrid childhood mutation disease" that befell the planet in 2073. Her husband Ethan then "left on the interstellar spaceship Pilgrimage in order to colonize an earth-like exoplanet and save humanity from extinction." However, upon reaching its destination, "the vessel went radio silent." Thirteen years later, Elea "ventures out on research starship RSS Recovery to find out what happened to Ethan. Along her journey, she encounters phenomena beyond human grasp."
The game plays out in first-person 3D, with players directly controlling Elea in navigating realistically depicted (but futuristically designed) environments. Unlike many sci-fi games that involve space travel, rather than having just one central spacecraft to explore, Elea promises a variety of locales across subsequent episodes, as its designers were inspired by the environmental diversity of old-school platformers (think lava, ice, jungle levels, etc.). The small team at Kyodai has been equally influenced by classic sci-fi writers like Arthur C. Clarke and Frank Herbert, which will be reflected in an experience that prioritizes story and exploration over challenging puzzles.
Having initially launched on Early Access in April, the first full episode of Elea is now available on Steam for Windows PC, as well as the Microsoft Store for Xbox One.