Today I talk about the game Observation created by No Code Studios and published by Devolver Digital Games. I have to say the game itself is a very unique take as you play the artificial intelligence systems of a space station called S.A.M. Something has gone terribly wrong as the station which started in Earths orbit is suddenly whisked away and soon found around the far off planet of Saturn. You as S.A.M. initialize after this unknown catastrophe, your systems damaged and your only view is through the numerous camera’s on the station that you can move freely too. Only one crew member is found, Emma Fisher, and between the two of you the mystery begins as to the fate of your crew, the station, and how did you get to Saturn.
The game design is well done as you get the feeling of being alone in the depths of space. Being the computer you find interesting distortions as you look through the camera of the ship, sometimes a nice grittiness or slight flicker of the screen as you port around the station. There are times your program is transferred to a mobile unit allowing you to fly inside and even outside of the station. You really get that feeling of weightlessness as you navigate the station, sometimes a bit hard to control, but with practice you get used to it. The graphics are clear, great voice acting and movement on screen. As you think the station is a cramped space and can be difficult to navigate at times. The game allows you to pull up schematics and maps as you gain more access to your memory core allowing easier navigation over time.
The game has some small puzzles or minigames you will have to overcome. Something as simple as locking and unlocking hatches to get to other parts of the ship is one. Since your computer is damaged you have to locate parts of your missing memory core by linking and downloading data from laptops on the station. Hatches for example may need you to find a schematic to be able to unlock a hatch. This schematic activates a small mini game which you have to match patterns on a grid to achieve success. Their are many other mini games you have to solve to bring systems back online like crew tracking systems, collant systems and much more. Now this may sound a little boring but it is a must to bring the station back in order to learn what occurred.
The gameplay is rather simple. To move around the ship you access your map and click on a room you want to access. Once there most rooms have up to three cameras you can shift through and turn. Accessible items such as laptops, and hatches you must target with your camera, click to link with the object then you can access it. As previously stated, some parts of the game require you to be mobile and for this there is a pod you can control that moves around in all directions. Since your in space it can take some time to get the hang of the controls as you can move in all directions as well as rotating in circles. Honestly i felt at times i was going to get sea sick, but after awhile you learn to navigate space rather well.
It is hard for me to explain much more as I do not want to give away any spoilers here, though the premise is finding out why your station was brought to Saturn. You do learn there is something, extra terrestrial occurring here with an element of multiple dimensions of sort with an ending designed for you to make your own conclusion as to why all this happened. To this day I am still trying to piece the ending out and if you decide to give Observation a try I would love to hear your thoughts on it. If you enjoy thrillers, myster, and sci-fi I suggest you get the game as it deserves a shot in anyone’s gaming library. Check out my first live stream of Observation here: