Three One Zero’s experimental space simulator, Adr1ft, managed to make its way onto Steam recently for the Oculus Rift and the new HTC Vive. It’s a game centered around the use of a virtual reality headset. Although, it’s completely possible to play the game without a VR headset.
The object of the game is to float around, discover how the space station was destroyed, and find a way to safety. It sounds easy but it’s far from it; especially considering that the suit you’re in is leaking oxygen and you have to find oxygen canisters floating about in order to stay alive.
The game is a visual splendor and it’s rat and raved about across majority of the user reviews for its magnificent and gorgeous graphics. The problem, however, comes in with what’s described as an ill-defined story and lacking motivation to keep the game intense and focused.
If you haven’t already, you can check out the trailer below to see what the general gameplay gist is like.
The concept of floating around, surveying the area, gathering survival supplies and figuring out what happens almost sounds like a recipe for an intense, atmosphere adventure… and, in a way, this is true.
However, many gamers are comparing it to the Sandra Bullock movie Gravity, and they aren’t putting any of the favor in Adr1ft’s direction when making that comparison.
Idiotech did a video review, but managed to sum up the whole thing within the confines of just a single sentence, writing…
“An excellent tech demo with extremely limited gameplay and an underwhelming narrative.”
The accompanying video manages to wrap up praise and criticism within the confines of just four minutes.
Cadman18 felt that the quality was good but the story and inconsistent music was not. Cadman18 also felt as if there was no replayability to Adr1ft, writing…
“I had high hopes for this game and while it does have beautiful graphics that alone doesn’t make a game. The story is lackluster, hell the film Gravity had more story and driven characters than this game. The music come on at weird moments and is split between short classical pieces and strange techno beats that made my brain melt and turn off my speakers until I was passed the tense area. I am not saying this is a bad game its basically Firewatch in space. “
AverageBrownie was mostly in agreement with the above review, writing in their own…
“Float through space and collect things simulator. DONT LOSE OXYGEN
“Story was bland and not well displayed to the player. Player showed no emotion or dialog or life for that matter.”
Synapse agreed on the front that the replay is not there, but they did recommend the game for its “charming” visuals and what they described as a “depressing story”…
“It’s a charming little game with impressive visuals, a depressing story, and not much replay value.”
On the the technical front, GasMask praised Three One Zero on the merits of the physics and visuals, stating…
“The space ambient and the physics seems very realistic (as far as i can tell). The vistas are awesome. I believe having VR you can enjoy even more. But be warned: this is a very slow paced game.”
Others called it “great” for being like “Gone Home in space”.
Others weren’t impressed, comparing it to a walking simulator in space.
Daimo offered a more reasoned and balanced approach amongst all the cries for how great the graphics are or how boring the story is, writing…
“Needs a little polish but it’s a game that you will want to play through in (mostly) one sitting. Basically you have to fly around repairing your suit and various systems of the station – if that sounds appealing you should enjoy this. There is a mp shooter called Shattered Horizon that this is very similar to.
“Music is pretty jarring and the audio levels break the immersion”
Hell+ also offered up a fantastic overview of the game, starting off on how much they wanted to love it, but at the end they couldn’t. The main reason was because of the disjointed narrative and the lack of focus on the actual space survival. Hell+ basically points out that it’s a good game if you’re into graphics porn featuring amazing vistas in space, but there isn’t much else to savor…
“Its lack of focus on survival means that it fails as a simplistic but fun space survival romp a la gravity, but it’s attempts at quiet moments and interesting story are far surpassed by its contemporary’s such as Firewatch.
“It’s a real shame, what we have here is tech demo with so much potential; Bad writing, bland repetitive design, and a 4-5 hour game length that really begins to drag on when the story fails to have any kind of redeeming value breaks something that leaves me with nothing but bitter disappointment.”
The average play length for completion seems to be between three and five hours. GenericHenle was another gamer who offered some additional fair criticisms after also wanting to love the game, saying…
“At this point I have beaten the game and I’m just kind of mixed about it. On one hand the game is absolutely beautiful. Moving around the debris field of a crumbling space station while looking down at Earth is simply amazing looking. The animations of Alex reaching out at items, turning them around and just moving around the airlock all look fantastic. The lighting system in the game is amazing as well. Past the visuals however, I found the game to be pretty boring and empty feeling.”
The Devils Own seemed to hold an opposing view, stating that the graphics helped make the experience worthwhile, writing…
“Holy hells, was I expecting this game at this budget to be this well real good. I have it on Epic and running a GTX 750 TI and getting 60 FPS. So I give thumbs up for the game being well optimized and great.
“So let me start off saying about the game. It is the most beautiful looking game I’ve played too long, right next to The Vanishing of Ethan Carter.” “[…] the game is extremly well done and I’m personally having a great experience with it and I hope everyone else gives this game a try. It is a real good price for the game you get, and I highly recommend it.”
Duck360 seems to sum up the experience for most of the good and bad said about the game, explaining that the graphics are top notch but this is little more than a tech demo for VR headsets, writing…
“All you do is EVA arround from point A to point B then to point C then back to B and then D and then back to C. So what happens between these points? Just EVA around, opening doors, getting O2. There is nothing else.
“BIG NOTE: I did not play the game with VR. I guess that’s what the game is made for. A demo for VR. so I DO NOT RECOMMEND IT if you don’t have VR.”
Ultimately this is a game for graphics whores who love space, and those who want to give their new Rift or their soon-to-arrive Vive a test run on something more than a low-poly indie game or a virtual tour. The reviews all note that the game appears to be highly optimized and runs well within the both the minimum and recommended specs range. There were some complaints about the controls being clunky, but others noted that the controls were fine based on the slower pace and animations depicted within the game.
Adr1ft definitely caters to a very specific crowd, and at the $19.99 mark, if you weren’t feeling the slow pace and visually methodical gameplay in titles like Gone Home or Firewatch, then it doesn’t sound like Adr1ft would be for you.