Every single day of their lives, human beings as sentient creatures, traverse miles of familiar environments, only to be faced with occurrences which are completely foreign to them. In fact, person’s entire life is a set of foreign, and disgruntling events, covered with a facade of known environments, which one is accustomed to. However, at a certain point in life, one has to face occurrences which are a complete antithesis to one’s life. And while traversing through alien, and seemingly threatening environments, one is faced with events which are familiar, and reassuring. And Adr1ft perfectly showcases this particular period of one’s existence.

Adr1ft’s environments are far from being familiar, even to those who are accustomed with the outer space. By taking place on a self-dismantling space station, right after a ‘catastrophic event’, in the near future, it really takes the concept of familiarity, rolls it into a tiny ball, and launches it, well into the outer space. And by doing so, it creates seemingly foreign, hostile atmosphere within a mostly bright, clean cut setting, proving that it is possible to create gripping, horror like ‘experience’ without unnecessary monsters, or zombies alike. The aforementioned atmosphere doesn’t rest on its laurels, as with every chapter it constantly increases, as the prospect of death, and impending doom is slowly starting to become a reality.

While the first chapters of Adr1ft take place within partially intact environments, the later stages of the title truly showcase the extent of the event which has taken place, prior to Adr1ft‘s beginning. Large chunks of floating debris, bare and uncovered electrical installation, and last and certainly not least, the hollow abyss of the outer space, all become more common, as the game goes on. However, the player is always given a choice on how to approach each and every obstacle. Yet, how one decides to do so doesn’t always depend on his or her preference, as factors such as current level of oxygen, distance, and state of the suit all have to be taken into the consideration.

ADR1FT Screenshot 01

If one’s suit is on the brink of destruction, but is filled to its limit with oxygen, you can decide to travel on the outside of the space station, in order to avoid rotating rings of the communication station, which can kill one in an instant in such state. However, if you have a suit with an average amount of durability, but are rapidly running out of oxygen, he/she will surely risk the potential damage, which the constantly rotating rings impose, as at this time, oxygen will surely be more important than the state of the space suit.

Events such as the one outlined in the paragraph above, showcase how familiar, despite its setting, Adr1ft truly is. As crossing the outer space is not much different to crossing a street in real life, where one has to decide whether running across four lanes of constant traffic to save the time, is ultimately worth the risk. And this is certainly not where similarities between Adr1ft, and real life experiences end, as Adr1ft, as previously stated is in a way mirroring one’s existence.

Throughout the entirety of the title, the player is on a mission to reactivate certain systems, in order to be able to launch the escape pod. And the journey from the very beginning, to its end, resembles person’s life. Four core chapters, which place the player on a path to recover four cores, which ultimately lead to activation to the escape pod systems are like four stages of a young person’s education. First step, which is the easiest and most trivial, is also the shortest, but on the way to its completion, it teaches the player all the basic skills which will be vital to his or her survival. And with the ultimate completion player is served with the core, which symbolises a diploma, and just like one, it serves the person with an upgrade, which ultimately assists you on the way to the next key stage, of his or her life.

36190303adr1ft1280-1459212145408

The theme of self exploration, and existential progression is present throughout the title, therefore allowing Adr1ft to feel encouraging, and familiar despite its overwhelmingly intimidating, yet beautiful setting. And the graphical beauty is surely one of the standout points of the Adr1ft, however, it is not just an empty background, as in this particular case it also serves as a side-narrative. The space station is full of signs of human livelihood, numerous diplomas, personal artefacts, and last but not least objects which for the purpose of avoiding spoilers, cannot be disclosed, all contribute towards creation of narrative, which coexists with the main objective of survival.

Discovery of numerous mementos, allows the player to recreate the state of the space station prior to the horrendous accident, it allows one to understand, and explore the  the minds of individuals, which were slowly breaking under the pressure of the player character. As one starts to discover certain side-themes such as death, deceit, greed, and alcoholism, the survival of the player character is no longer the main objective, as step by step all the side characters, and their meaningful back stories take the centre stage. And once this happens, Adr1ft becomes a truly exceptional experience, rather than a game, as despite the destruction and the mind breaking emptiness, it manages to portray a story of a common human being, in an alien, blockbuster environment, which at the same time feels more familiar than many contemporary settings created by some developers.

Ultimately, Adr1ft is an exceptional experience which should be played by everyone who is the fan of the adventure genre. It’s simple, yet extremely effective narrative also shows that the genre of the so called ‘walking simulators’ doesn’t need an overproduced story, with hundreds of moral choices, and a cast of meaningless characters. However, Adr1ft is not perfect, as the PlayStation 4 version, during the review playthrough has crashed two or three times, but fortunately, if it happens to occur to anybody else, then it is not a subject to worry about, as auto saves are frequent, and players can lose up to five minutes of progress at most, which is not much for a 6 hour long game, which Adr1ft is.



Author

Kamil

My name is Kamil, and I'm the 'Feature Man'. I write news, and reviews just like everybody else, however, feature articles are my true forte. And this is not because I'm another self-centered, pseudo-intellectual games journalist, but because there are many discussion worthy matters which go unnoticed in the flurry of other video-game related articles. If you want to read more of my #HotTakes and #Opinions, or if you simply want to fight me over the internet, you can follow me on Twitter @Kama_Kamilia.