Review: Close to the Sun
Close to the Sun gives us an in-depth look into an alternate course of history where every one of famous scientist Nikola Tesla’s overly-ambitious and sometimes dangerous inventions have actually come to fruition. The game itself can get a little repetitive at times, but there is no arguing with its sublime Rapture-esque atmosphere.
Players get in the skin of Rose, a young journalist in search of her missing sister, Ada. This brings you to Helios, an enormous ship filled with Nikola Tesla’s inventions. One of the best scenes early in the game is visiting the scientist’s museum on board of the ship. This gives you a deep look into the alternate history side of the game, with inventions like a Death Ray and Tesla Tower actually having been build. This is all explained through audiologs, having been brought to life by wonderful voice acting.
“The present is theirs; the future is mine.” – Nikola Tesla
Most of the game will be spent in solitude, with the only conversation taking place over radio transmissions. This is for the best, as actual character models look less polished than the environment they’re standing in. The gameplay itself reminds us of ‘Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture’, but with Outlast and Layers of Fear style horror elements added into the mix. The beauty of the game is in its scenery and environmental storytelling. Playing the game in the right mood and with an inquisitive mind will surely make the Helios’ secrets open up to you.
Puzzles take up a bulk of the game’s roughly five to seven hours of playing time. These mostly demand the player memorising sequences and navigating their way through maze-like level design. While fun at first, forgetting a symbol which results in you having to backtrack quite a while can get rather infuriating. Close to the Sun can also get tedious at times, which is why we applaud the developers’ choice of setting this game down as intended and only leaving it as short or as long as it is, not necessarily stretching the storyline beyond its natural lifespan.
Once in a while Rose will find herself running away from something in an Outlast-style chasing sequence. This has the player navigating through a maze, with no hints on where to go other than your memory from your previous attempt. While somewhat original, these sequences were a struggle to get through whilst trying to finish this above all, very unique title.
Close to the Sun delivers in atmosphere, world-building and storyline, but lacks in gameplay and keeping the player interested throughout the whole playtime. Close to the Sun is a wonderful change of pace from the usual AAA title and it fits perfectly in a list with games like Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, The Order 1886, The Sinking City, Layers of Fear and Outlast.
Rating: 8/10 Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC Developer: Storm in a Teacup Publisher: Wired Productions Price: €29,99/$29,99/£24.99