I think it’s safe to say that everyone has wanted to be an astronaut at some point. I mean, who wouldn’t want to venture through outer Space, discovering new planets and alien life forms? Whilst that may not be exactly what the average astronaut does in reality, it’s what you’ll be doing during your time as an astronaut in Amazing Discoveries In Outer Space (ADIOS).
ADIOS has a simple premise, placing you in the role of an astronaut who has crash landed on an unknown planet and needs to find his way home. The only way to make your way back home is through the process of discovery – that’s right, in order to hit light year speed and make your journey home you need to make a certain amount of discoveries in each Solar System.
You’re not alone during your Space adventure though. Your spacecraft comes equipped with an AI navigation system named ZING who will offer you a few hints and tips during your voyage. It’s pretty limited to teaching you how to use each tool and upgrade you find for your spacecraft, but it’s always good to know you have some company out in the depths of Space. ZING also provides the slightly bare-boned narrative the game features, offering a sort of premise to each of the three campaigns the game features. Of course, ADIOS isn’t a game that really needs a story – it’s all about the exploration!
Unlike many other Space exploration titles out there these days, ADIOS takes place across a 2D plane. This doesn’t take anything away from the sense of scale though; some of the Solar Systems you explore are huge, offering a wide variety of planets that each have their own unique orbit around a humongous sun in the middle of the system. Each Solar System feels unique and the game is procedurally generated meaning that you’ll never visit the same Solar System twice.
The game’s Solar System are typically full to the brim with the vital discoveries you need to make in order to progress a step closer to your home planet. Once you’ve made the required amount of discoveries (each item is allocated a certain value), you’re then able to power your Z-Drive that will let you hit light speed and travel to the next Solar System.
There’s a wide range of discoveries to be made in each Solar System. They range from basic things such as rocks, fauna and cargo to actual alien life forms. You’re also able to discover new astronauts to controls, spacecraft to fly and hats to maintain your gravity level on each planet. They’re all pretty much cosmetic additions, but it’s neat to be able to customise your look for each adventure you go on.
ADIOS is a game all about discovery and thankfully there’s plenty to find – I’ve spent a ton of time on the game and I’m not even close to uncovering everything. The game keeps a record of all the discoveries you make so you’re able to see what you might be missing, though it doesn’t offer any clue on how to uncover these missing discoveries.
There are a few neat secret discoveries to find that unlock some cool easter eggs too – my favourite being the planet that seems to be inspired by Super Mario with its abundance of pipes and mushrooms. You’re also able to discover a hat on this planet that bares similarities to that worn by everyone’s favourite Italian plumber…
Whilst the ship controls are pretty straight forward, it’s not always easy to make safe landings on each planet you visit. You need to make sure you don’t land on a planet at too high a speed or else you’ll cause damage to your spacecraft – I lost track of how many times I crash landed on a planet, causing my astronaut to meet an early demise. At first it isn’t always easy to control your ship, especially when traversing through tight asteroid fields or small gaps on a planet. You’ll get used to it after a few hours play, but it can be awkward to begin with. Thankfully the game does help you out by showing the exact trajectory your ship will travel in, but you do have to be careful giving that you have limited energy for your ship.
The energy that powers your ship isn’t limitless in ADIOS – you won’t be able to just blast your thrusters endlessly as you travel from planet to planet. You’ll have to carefully manage your energy usage otherwise you may find yourself lost in Space forever. Fortunately, there are a few tricks you can utilise to help you out. You’re able to speed up time, meaning that you can set your ship’s trajectory towards a planet’s orbit and then just speed up time and watch the planet come to you. Alternatively, you can regain some lost energy by attaching your ships tow cable to one of the many floating satellites and recharge, providing you with an extra boost during desperate situations. You really have to take care if you’re going to eventually find your way home – sometimes wasting energy is more of a threat to your life than the countless hazards you face in each Solar System.
You’ll come across plenty of hazards in ADIOS that are just waiting to cut your Space adventure short. There’s wayward asteroids, high temperatures on planets, huge gusts of wind that will launch your astronaut off a planet altogether along with some of the dangerous live forms you’ll encounter. Perhaps worst of all is the giant black hole you’ll encounter later in the game that will suck you in and completely annihilate you. I suffered a few punishing deaths during my adventures – thankfully, no-one can hear you scream in Space.
Each time you die you get sent back to the start of the campaign – every four light years you travel you unlock a shortcut though that allows you to start that extra bit further into a campaign at the expense of your placing on the game’s leaderboard. The thing is, it won’t matter how often you die nor where you start from – ADIOS has that ‘one more try’ style of gameplay that keeps you coming back for more. I lost count of how often I told myself that each attempt would be my last, only to lose more and more and hours to the game. Each bit of progress and discovery you make motivates you to keep playing through – it just constantly keeps you entertained with pure enjoyment.
That’s not to say the game doesn’t have some flaws though. The camera system could go a little out of control at times, zooming in and out at seemingly random points. It’s normally not too much of a problem, but when you’re traversing dangerous territory at a high speed the camera randomly zooming out can be the difference between life and death. There’s also the fact that the game has you pretty much doing the same thing from start to finish. Not everyone will want to travel between Solar Systems making discoveries, and that’s pretty much all the game consists of. I’m selling it a little short there and it’s a lot more fun than it might sound, but at the end of the day the game is based purely around the premise of discovery – something that might not be for everyone.
The many Solar Systems you explore look fantastic with some beautiful hand drawn, cartoon styled visuals. ADIOS isn’t a game that focuses on looking ultra-realistic, but instead incredibly attractive. Between the burning suns and different varieties of planets you uncover, everything manages to look incredibly pretty. One thing I really appreciated was the dark side of each planet – the half of the planet facing the sun would always be brightly lit whilst the other half would be covered in darkness. It’s a small detail, but it had a really powerful effect in-game, making each Solar System and planet actually feel alive and real.
I spent so much time playing through ADIOS and each hour was full of enjoyment. There’s just something satisfying about travelling through each Solar System, making a ton of new discoveries and surviving through each death-defying situation that faces you. It’s the sort of game that’s easy to pick up and play when you’ve got a spare twenty minutes to waste, although that ‘twenty minutes’ will often turn into hours upon hours of enjoyable Space exploration.
It won’t appeal to everyone though, especially seeing as there’s not a huge amount of variety to the gameplay. Those that do enjoy this style of gameplay though will be saying ‘adios’ to their free time as they get absorbed into this charming Space adventure.
– Enjoyable Space exploration gameplay
– Procedurally generated Solar Systems always offer something new to discover
– Beautiful hand drawn visuals
– An absolute abundance of things to discover
– The camera can go a little crazy at times
– The repetitive gameplay may not appeal to everyone
Developer: Cosmic Picnic (www.adiosgame.com)
Publisher: Cosmic Picnic (www.adiosgame.com)
Release Date: 02/02/2016 (NA), 03/02/2016 (EU)
Format(s): Playstation 4 (reviewed)