When I first saw ADR1FT I was under the impression it was just another serene space adventure that was a "paint by numbers" kind of design. Then as Three One Zero kept giving us more and more to look at the game evolved and looked like it was becoming truly unique all its own. Now that 505 Games has released the game we have had a chance to play and review ADR1FT in all of its forms outside of just watching nice little trailers. Here's our full review and thoughts on just how the game played and felt along the way.
Everything seems to be going well at first and then you realize that you have been jarred awake after your space station has been hit with some kind of catastrophe. You luck out that you are caught on some of the debris and still have an intact space suit. Now you must find and float your way around the rubble in hope to get things back up and running enough so you can get in one of the escape pods and make it safely back to Earth. That and find out just what happened along the way here to cause the explosive events that took place and almost ended your life.
As mentioned above in the story of ADR1FT your suit does seem to be intact enough so you do not run out of air and die instantly. The integrity of the suit also seems to be your health in the game as it can be repaired and damaged along the way. The only real odd thing about it is that there is no true indication of how damaged the suit is or how it gets damaged in the first place. There are cracks and video glitches that show up as you take on the damage but sometime the game says you are at 68% and others at 31% with everything looking the same. A better indication of that would make it insanely more useful as if the suits is destroyed it is game over.
Building from that, I get that there needs to be dangers in ADR1FT that we need to avoid and Three One Zero had some great ones mixed in there to damage our suit as we played along. But outside of the obvious dangers it seemed like even a floating leaf in space was powerful enough to crack our helmet for some reason. I'm no physicist but that doesn't seem like it would be possible and it just felt like it happened this way more than any of the real dangers in the game. In fact, I found myself needing to repair my suit more after floating peacefully though a room full of plants than when trying not to get electrocuted by the open power lines and spinning hunks of metal in space.
Lastly, and this goes back to the survive-ability of the suit, it did seem like everything became super powered and dangers were removed too fast in ADR1FT. In particular the worry of not having oxygen was all but removed not even a quarter of the way into the game. When I started ADR1FT I found myself struggling to make it from oxygen tank to oxygen tank. Then I picked up the first suit upgrade and felt like I could have made the drift all the way back to Earth with the amount of oxygen I had and needed to use. That danger was completely removed way too early on to keep the tension flowing at great heights for the entire game.
I'm going to start my love for ADR1FT with something that started out as a hated item. The freedom of movement in the game seemed to me to be a huge set back in the game as it made me feel like there was no true point but to float around the whole game. Then after getting past the learning curve here I felt like the whole game truly opened up and I was able to explore just as the developers intended. This is actually the point where I was able to fully get into ADR1FT and my first true love of the game. It does have a steep curve but once you press on through and take the training you'll be exploring with the rest of us in just perfection.
While ADR1FT isn't a horror or suspenseful title by listing, I do have to say that they nailed the true panic of being stranded in an environment where you could die at any moment perfectly. I don't think I have had as much anxiety in a game like this in such a long time. I am also a huge fan of horror titles that are designed to induce this kind of panic in video games and most of them need to take a solid look at ADR1FT to understand how to do it again. Not even a horror game and my heart was racing the whole time and I loved it. If you are looking for that feeling, then this is a great place to start again.
Usually I would gripe about a game being short and ADR1FT is something that can be conquered in one night if you play right through. But the length and everything was just perfect here and when mixed with the other items I loved above it makes the whole experience feel like days long just from the anxiety side of things. Everything seemed to place me right in the mix of things and the "puzzles" mixed in to get things up and running were complex enough and not convoluted to add to it all. Even though I know the solutions they even left me wanting to go back and do better and try not to get hurt or killed in multiple play throughs. Few games have done that as of late.
The learning curve of ADR1FT is quite high at the beginning but once you get past that everything opens up so perfectly it is easy to overlook. While I think the game could have felt better without the oxygen feeling infinite early on in the game and the damage system could use a face-lift, those things can quickly get overlooked as everything else floods right in. I fully recommend ADR1FT for gamers out there looking for a fun and anxiety filled experience. There is not shooting and monsters to hide from but this is another immersive title that other developers and genres can take parts of and use even better. Please do.
I give ADR1FT 25 Backup SSDs on the Backup SSD scale.
ADR1FT — Clair de Lune