Space. Harsh, unforgiving and yet awe-inspiring, it's the final frontier, where nobody can hear you scream (with frustration). Upcoming zero-g physics puzzler Heavenly Bodies, by Australian indie developer 2pt Interactive, evokes the early days of the space race, where only those with the right stuff need apply and even the most mundane task in outer space is a deadly challenge that can "go from the sublime to the ridiculous so fast it gives you whiplash."
The game takes us back to the USSR, back to the 1970s, and up to a space station. You (and possibly a fellow cosmonaut) must do what it takes to keep this miracle of Soviet engineering in the skies, whether that's tinkering with solar panels, building a telescope, or indulging in a spot of astrobotany. All while trying not to send your screwdriver (or yourself) spinning into orbit in the microgravity.
The 2D graphics look to be a cross between vintage realism and a Soviet propaganda poster, and are backed by a spaced-out electronic soundtrack. The bodies at the forefront here are as much human as extraterrestrial: you take direct control of your cosmonaut's arms and legs as you wrestle with both your space-suited body and recalcitrant equipment in a series of "physically-simulated stellar scenarios," with only mission control and some ring-bound manuals to get you through it. This is a strictly controller-only affair, with each limb mapped to a different thumbstick or button. You can play the game alone or with a friend in local co-op on all platforms, with the Steam version offering exclusive access to online multiplayer through Remote Play Together. This opens up new ways to deal with the station's many issues, which are apparently drawn from real-life situations and research.
Heavenly Bodies is scheduled for lift-off in August on Steam for Windows and Mac, along with a console versions for PlayStation 4 and 5.