Stasis: A Sci-Fi Horror Adventure

Stasis_Title

Developers: The Brotherhood

Released: August 31, 2015

Platform: Steam

Price: $24.99

Rated: M

Contributed by: Matthew Wilson

Stasis is a relatively new title from indie game developers, The Brotherhood.  A breath of fresh air in the horror genre, Stasis has done well for itself  thanks to its unique use of isometric point-and-click gameplay.  At first I had doubts as to the compatibility of a horror adventure with isometric visuals, but Stasis delivered and delivered big. The game absolutely blew me away with its original storyline and captivating visuals. 

The Story

The premise of the game is that you have awoken in a laboratory as John Maracheck. You have no idea where you are and the spaceship is completely abandoned. The ship is ruined; equipment is broken, tables have been overturned, and streaks of blood cover the floors and walls. As you stumble through the ship in search of a way to escape to return to your wife and daughter, you’ll find that something unusual happened on the ship.

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The storyline truly is Stasis’ best feature. The game does an absolutely amazing job of bringing immersion to the player. As you explore the ship you’ll find many journal entries and clues as to the history of the ship and what caused the ravage. If you like to read I highly recommend this game, as you will find yourself with a lot of content.  The game is riddled with clues hidden among the writings you come across, so they’re definitely worth the read.

The Good Stuff

 Although I doubted the horror elements of the game at first, it didn’t take long before I was terrified, screaming and leaving my computer  to calm down. The amazing visuals add to the horror experience as the game’s atmosphere has you on guard at all times. Stasis is most assuredly a horror game, so if you’re a fan of the genre this is a must have.

Disregarding horror in relation to graphics, the graphics still do the game justice. The lighting, the colors and the environment make for a very pleasing game to look at. It is incredible how much attention to detail the developers put into Stasis. Also, I have to give credit to the nice voice acting that accompanies you throughout the game. The art of the game is true excellence.

Gameplay

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The game’s controls should be familiar to those who played other isometric games such as Baldur’s Gate. The only difference is that the game is completely mouse driven, including the menu. The entire game is point-and-click with a helpful HUD that allows the player to identify the object they are clicking on or mousing over. However, this didn’t  always allow for smooth gameplay. 

 The nature of  most point-and-clicks is to solve puzzles, and Stasis is no different. This requires the player to activate certain things in a certain order, use a specific tool on another object… so on and so forth. However, the game’s lack of assistance in this area can be frustrating

The Not Good Stuff

It could be that I’m simply bad at point-and-click games, but annoyance turned to frustration as I scoured the environment for a clue or item for hours without any help from the game. This is where one of the bigger problems with the game’s  HUD comes into play. The game will only tell the player when he or she has their mouse over an object. As with most point-and-clicks,  objects can be hidden and can be very small with the intention of making them difficult to find. The isometric nature of the game makes this even more difficult. A system that helps reveal objects would have been greatly appreciated.

Another problem with Stasis, was that the game’s lack of help sometimes completely halted progress. While the game has a set amount of responses when solving a puzzle, these messages simply state that whatever you are trying to do is incorrect.  

What it Needs

One suggestion I had to solve this could be unique dialogues for each situation that suggest a correct tool, or  action. Additionally, a timed dialogue could appear if you’re in an area for a prolonged amount of time without progress. I’m definitely not asking for answers,  but helpful hints can prevent frustration when a player is stumped.  Again I may not be very good at games like these, but those who can empathize with me may experience similar issues.

The Final Verdict 

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Despite the difficulty of the puzzle mechanics in the game, Stasis is a game that stands out among others. It has solid graphics, a great storyline, and for horror fans, a good amount of fear inducing elements. The game is not demanding on graphics or processing, so almost any machine can run this game no problem. The price is fair for the average gameplay length of 10-12 hours. I would recommend this game to anyone looking for a single player game that will give them hours of excitement.

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