Adventure games have the ability to take you to foreign or otherwise alien places, and Three One Zero’s ADR1FT is exactly that, because there’s nothing more alien than space. ADR1FT is game one would call a walking simulator, but here it is more of a floating simulator. Having played ADR1FT, it has me considering owning an Oculus Rift. Though, without VR it feels like you’re observing the situation laid out before you rather than experiencing it first-hand. Often feel repetitive and lacking in exciting events, ADR1FT manages to be a visual splendor that must be seen in 2D or 3D.
Taking place in the not-too-distant future of 2037, you play as female astronaut, Alex Oshima, a Commander aboard the Hardiman Aerospace Northstar IV (HAN-IV) space station. Though, it isn’t quite how she remembered it. Something catastrophic happened, and now the space station is split apart, and you’re left adrift, fighting for your life. Thankfully and conveniently there are air canisters floating around, this struggle is seemingly real.
From moment one, ADR1FT has you fighting for your life with a heavily damaged EVA suit, constantly leaking air. There are an innumerable amount of air canisters floating around, signified by blinking green lights to reach for. There’s a suggestion of survival here, but with the plentiful amount of air to be found, is subdued by this very fact. It’s not until you reach the first major repair station that reduces the need for oxygen so urgently. However, issues persist as for a long while your propulsion is tied to your oxygen, so you’ll have to use it wisely and sparingly. Gradually repairing your suit’s components, section by section are what make the events of ADR1FT so dire.
The aforementioned movement is accompanied by real universal physics. Being in zero gravity, velocity and direction are infinite. Once you’ve reached the suit’s maximum velocity from the air propulsion, you no longer need to hold it. I played the game’s in-game tutorial, but might have overlooked this fact. Having come to that realization, the situations I had put myself in of running out of oxygen were no longer happening, and was needing to consume less air canisters as a result.
While ADR1FT takes place around a space station, it is very large and comprised of multiple environments and habitats to explore. You’ll often come across where plants are grown and have to wipe them off your helmet, or be floating through water bubbles in zero gravity, or watching air float off into the vacuum of space. The look of ADR1FT running on Unreal Engine 4 with all of the settings maxed is an absolute treat for your eyes. Seeing debris floating away contained to minimal gravity is delightfully horrifying to see, and brush away right in front of your face. It’s all great to look at, that is only enhanced being outside to see flashing lights and Earth’s day to night come into play. ADR1FT is great at reminding you how alone you are.
Three One Zero have done a great job with the UI. The HUD is quietly and naturally integrated with EVA suit you are wearing. Information like checkpoints and obtaining collectibles are hidden into the log that’s used for when you are getting information. The only concession made with making this ever look like a game is the prompt for grabbing air canisters and opening doors. It’s otherwise a seamless and unobtrusive UI that almost lets you forget that you’re playing a game.
ADR1FT is a linear 3-4 hour journey within Earth’s orbit. The length is far from a problem, and feels good with the tasks you’re given. Though those tasks are repetitive and slogs to get from one area to another. While this isn’t a race or one you want to rush, there’s certainly a desire to go faster once you know where you are going, and despite all of the upgrades, is never fast enough. The story unfolds slowly and at your own pace with how much you go off to explore, though it’s really recommended to fully upgrade your suit before going off to explore everything you see. The story itself is far less impactful and exciting than it turns out to be, with the more insightful elements being personal belongings found within the torn apart space station.
As you make your way around the space station to complete the various objectives, you will find dead astronauts floating about where they died. It’s here where you will intercept audio logs and learn about them. You’ll also find their living quarters and be able to access their computers. A neat UI element will tell you that you’ve performed an HR violation for accessing their personal files. It’s things like this that go a long way for ADR1FT.
Like the UI, collectibles are subtly found within your exploration of the decrepit space station. They are SSDs floating about, that provide you more information and encourage you to spend more time exploring. It’s a bit of a contrivance that even ADR1FT has collectibles, but it works and isn’t a problem. They’re actually so easy to miss that it helps assert that the collectibles are a non-issue.
While I’ll admit that it feels like I’m missing a lot of what the ADR1FT experience has to offer without owning a VR headset, such as the Oculus Rift that this game is launching alongside, there’s still plenty enjoy here. While the story falls flat, and the repetitious tasks leave a lot to be desired, I can’t help but recommend ADR1FT still.
A pre-release Steam code was provided by the publisher for review purposes