Andy Schuette has been gaming ever since he could hold a SNES controller in his hands and has been loving every minute of it. He's the funniest guy he knows, and the least funny guy everyone else knows.
Space. It surrounds us and our planet, separating us from everything else in the universe. If movies like Gravity or The Martian didn’t sell you on the vast emptiness of space, perhaps this game can. A dual project between 505 Games and Three One Zero, ADR1FT is a virtual reality space simulator. Available for Oculus Rift and PC on March 28, PS4 and Xbox One version release dates are still TBD.
ADR1FT‘s premise is pretty straightforward: you’re a near-future astronaut stranded in space. Filling the space boots of Commander Alex Oshima of the HAN-VI space station, your first task is to figure out what the heck happened. Oh, and you’re leaking oxygen too, in case you needed motivation to get started.
While restoring the station’s functionality, a great many questions fill your head. What happened here? Where’s the rest of the crew? Hell, who are knuckleheads responsible for this? Like all solo adventure games (or as the developers call it, “First Person Experience” games), this is all accomplished by rifling through their personal effects. After all, it’s no longer rude if they’re dead and it’s for the sake of survival. Right?
The atmosphere (or lack thereof) is what sets ADR1FT apart from others in its genre. There is something about the absolute nothingness around you that is unnerving. You are the only living thing for miles. And we aren’t talking about Mr. and Mrs. Johnson living a few miles down the country road from you. We are talking hundreds of thousands of miles, distances that would take months one way. Hell, you don’t even have ambient music to help you relax as you float through space trying to survive.
ADR1FT sounds pretty scary if you ask me. I’m not talking about the jump-scare type of space horror like in Alien: Isolation. It’s witnessing Oshima’s situation through his eyes – at least with the help of the Oculus Rift – that sends chills up my spine.
It’s not the loneliness that gets me. It’s the sheer deafening silence of space, leaving you alone to your thoughts. It’s that same familiar silence that fills your head with existential questions at night or on long drives by yourself. The vastness of the universe is one thing; combating your own personal mental hell is another. ADR1FT flings you in the midst of both and laughs as you try to find something to hold onto.
Horror aside, 505 Games is more interested in ADR1FT being a reflective journey. The fractured space station is just the backdrop. The broken solar panels are mirrors that prompt us to contemplate our own existence, not just Commander Oshima’s. The slow oxygen leak, just a reminder of our inevitable demise.
While other games force contemplation through monolith-sized choices involving others, ADR1FT focuses on you. Just you. With its emphasis on isolation, it’s interesting to see how our thinking shifts when removing all others from the equation. In other survival games (The Walking Dead, for example), your actions affect everyone else around you. When you’re alone, you’re left to act as you see fit. What that means exactly is… well… what the developers are hoping to find out here.
Aside from Oshima’s unfortunate circumstance, we still don’t know too much about ADR1FT‘s story. We have our call to action (trying not to die in space), but where does that lead? With all this talk about introspection, I hope there’s more than just finding the right thingamajig to fix the whosawhatsit. You’re a commander, after all. Not some space engineer.
One thing’s for certain though: ADR1FT is as beautiful as it is desolate. From the metallic curves of the station to the immersive HUD built into your space suit, you’re primed to lose yourself in the void. Strap into an Oculus headset and you’re already gone.
As you work towards repairing the ship for a safe return home, be sure to stick close to the existing parts. There’s a lesson you can learn from Sandra Bullock drifting off into space towards a galaxy far, far away.
Come March 28, you’ll be able to jettison yourself into space. And at the rather affordable price of $55, you can snag the ADR1FT Collector’s Edition on iam8bit. The Collector’s Edition includes:
- Two copies of ADR1FT (one non-VR PC version, and another for Oculus Rift)
- A 30″ x 16″ 756-piece puzzle created from one of two high-def in-game screenshots
- An embroidered HAN-IV Space Station patch
- And astronaut ice cream (for real… Neapolitan freeze-dried ice cream)!
With all that, you’re sure to get sucked into the gravity well that is ADR1FT. In the video alone, the tension is thicker than the insulation of your leaky suit. Through Oshima’s experience, perhaps we’ll be able to reflect with him, drifting through space. You may want to practice some calming breathing techniques before taking on this adventure. Both for your sanity, and for your chronic lack of oxygen problem you should get fixed.